If you’re preparing to make a planning application for an upcoming project, it’s important to factor in the time it will take for approval.
Of course, you should also consider the possibility that your local planning authority may reject your initial application, and you may therefore need to make certain changes in order
So, how long does it take for the whole process to be completed – from sending in your application to receiving permission?
First of all, we need to explore the concept of planning permission and explain the reason for its existence.
What is Planning Permission and Why is it Needed?
Making an application for planning permission is the only way in which individuals and businesses can receive official local authority consent to construct, or make changes to, buildings and property.
The local council – the main authority that presides over the area in which the project is to take place – must give their permission for development to go ahead.
If they do not, an enforcement notice may be served, and they may order any unauthorised changes to be reversed.
Do I Need to Make a Planning Application?
In most cases, you will need to submit a planning application if your project involves:
- Demolition work
- The construction of a new building
- Making a significant change to a property, such as adding an extension in order to boost its overall value
- Changing the use of a building: for example, adapting a commercial property to serve as residential housing
- Other development plans for resale or rent.
Generally, if your project proposal does not include any of these actions, the development is likely to be covered by your permitted development rights – which means you won’t need to request planning permission.
A good architect will usually be able to tell you whether permission is required on a particular development.
However, even if you have the right architect, we highly recommend that you seek further professional advice to make doubly sure that you won’t need to engage with the planning process before you make a start.
Your local planning authority is not the only body to which you may need to apply for permission when it comes to construction or change of use.
There are other local authorities that manage matters related to:
- Listed buildings
- Conservation areas
- World heritage sites or sites of historic importance in the surrounding area
- Protected trees, plant life and animals
- Land owned by utility companies
If your property is listed, located in a conservation area, or if any other part of the above list applies, you must seek approval from the relevant body before you begin your project.
How Do I Make an Application for Planning Permission?
A prospective planning permission applicant should visit the Planning Portal website and make an account to access and submit all required forms.
An application fee must be paid before an application may be submitted. The precise fee you will be required to pay may vary from project to project – and further information is available on the “What is costs” page of the Planning Portal site.
How Long Does Planning Permission Take for a New Build?
The majority of cases – including those relating to more minor planning applications – are decided by planning officers within eight weeks of the date they are submitted.
However, planning decisions involving unusually large or complex projects may take up to thirteen weeks to conclude.
If your site is likely to be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment, it could take up to sixteen weeks for local authorities to decide whether to grant permission.
It is important to provide correct information to the council when applying for planning permission. Failing to do so will significantly affect the speed of the process, as a planning officer will need to contact you for clarification.
How Long Does Planning Permission Take for an Extension?
Similarly to cases involving new builds, a planning permission application for a home extension will rarely take any longer than 8 weeks.
However, again, if you are planning to extend your property in a particularly complex manner, or if it is possible that your extension will affect a protected location, the process may take up to thirteen weeks.
How Long Does Planning Permission Take for a Change of Use?
The process for permission to change the use of a property is usually the same as that of a new build or extension – eight weeks for a straightforward project and thirteen weeks for anything more complex.
For a clearer idea of the likely length of the process in your particular case, do not hesitate to contact your local council.
Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garage, Shed or Outbuilding?
If you are planning to create a detached garage or outbuilding, the project will likely fall under your permitted development rights as long as you make a point of staying within certain dimensional boundaries.
You can learn more about the specifics of this by contacting a planning officer at your local council, or by taking a look on the Planning Portal website.
Do Loft Conversions Need Planning Permission?
Should you wish to create a loft conversion, you are unlikely to need planning permission. However, it is a different matter if you intend to add further storeys to your property, or to make any alterations to your roof.
You’ll find additional information on this matter here.
Does a Time Limit Apply Once Planning Applications are Approved?
Approved planning applications will lapse if you do not begin your project within three years of the decision.
Why Might Planning Applications Be Rejected?
You may be denied permission for a number of reasons. It may be that the council does not believe that your project fits in with the feel of the local area, or that it poses a danger to – or threatens to inconvenience – other parties.
Residents of the local area may also add comments to a planning application in order to make objections or to suggest certain conditions.
If an overwhelming number of objections are made, permission may be denied, and you may be required to make changes in order to see it pushed through.
Can I Appeal a Rejected Planning Application or an Enforcement Notice?
It is possible to appeal either a decision or an enforcement notice by contacting the Planning Inspectorate. You may do so right here via the gov.uk website.
When preparing to start work on a building or extension, it is important to factor in sufficient time for a planning permission to be granted – but also for any appeals to be heard and for any further consideration that may be required.