Planning Permission and Building Regulations Assistance.

What Happens Next

Appealing a Decision

Decision Outcomes

Once your Planning Application is Received

How to Make a Planning Application

Is Planning Permission Necessary?

The Inspectorate will reconsider your proposal according to how it relates to local and national planning policies. Like applications, all appeals are decided individually in line with your council’s development plan unless there is a good reason not to. The length of time the appeal will take will depend on the complexity of the case before the Inspectorate. You will not have to pay for the appeal, but you will be expected to pay your own costs.

What is in an appeal decision?

Once your appeal has been considered, you will receive a decision notice from the Inspectorate. The decision notice will briefly confirm the facts of your proposal, identify the relevant issues and explore the arguments for and against the proposal. It will then provide a decision on the appeal and explain why and how the inspector has reached their conclusion.

How will my appeal be considered?

The majority of appeals are handled based on written statements received from you, the council and any interested third party. The Inspectorate will also visit the site to gain a holistic view of your appeal. In some cases, you or the council may request a local public inquiry or an informal hearing into the appeal. Hearings are usually relaxed and are characterised by an open discussion led by the inspector once written submissions have been received. However, the Inspectorate can decline this request if it will be of no benefit to the process.

The building regulations approval process

Even after planning permission has been granted, you must still obtain building regulations approval when constructing or redeveloping. The following pages provide information on building regulations and what you may need to consider when constructing or redeveloping. These include rules for listed buildings, party walls, basement development and the management of construction sites and waste. There’s also an overview of the bodies overseeing electrical, gas and heating safety, plus information about building in conservation areas, what to do if you encounter bats and dealing with tree preservation orders.

If you disagree with your council’s decision or if you have not received a decision within the agreed determination period, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. It is an independent body which will look at your proposals again. Appealing is a time-consuming process, so it is worth first trying to negotiate with the planning officer who made the decision. When you appeal, the inspector will consider your planning proposal from the very start. They will review all the same issues as the council, including the council’s development plan and all other relevant matters.

When do you appeal?

You can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if the council you applied to has:
  • Refused your application for planning permission
  • Given you planning permission but with planning conditions which you believe are unreasonable
  • Refused to approve a scheme to which they already gave outline planning permission
  • Approved the details of a scheme with planning conditions which you believe are unreasonable
  • Refused your proposal to meet a particular planning condition
  • Taken longer than eight weeks (12 weeks for larger schemes) to decide your application
  • Refused your application to fell or otherwise implicated a protected tree
How long you have to appeal depends on the type of planning application made: Householder planning applications If you have submitted a planning application as a householder, you should submit your appeal within 12 weeks of the date given on your refusal notice. If the council have not decided, you have up to six months from the end of the period when the decision should have been made. Appeals against planning conditions can be made within up to six months from the date of the decision. Other planning applications If you have submitted another type of planning application, such as consent to change a listed building, you must appeal to the Planning Inspectorate within six months of the date on the refusal notice. In cases where the council have not decided, you should appeal within six months of the end of the initial determination period. Appeals relating to applications on protected trees These should be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate within 28 days of receiving the local council’s decision, or within 28 days of when the decision should have been received if the council has failed to reach a decision.

Further representations

The Inspectorate is highly likely to refuse to accept your appeal if it arrives after the allotted time limit so you should make sure to appeal as soon as possible. Once you have made an appeal, the council will notify everyone who commented on the initial proposal and all other interested parties that you have done so. This notification will include details of how the appeal will be handled, in addition to providing a deadline for sending any further representations to the Inspectorate.

There are three possible outcomes to a planning application: permission may be granted in full, granted with planning conditions, or refused.

Granted in full

The positive news for those wishing to build or renovate is that councils approve approximately 80% of planning applications, including 90% of applications made by householders.

Once your proposal has gained full planning permission, you will typically have to start building within three years. The council may shorten this time limit or make it longer if appropriate and will explain their reasons for doing this on the decision notice you or your agent will receive. If you do not start developing within this time limit, you will need to re-apply for permission before the time limit runs out.

If you only sought outline planning permission, the council will specify the matters reserved for approval and state the time limit within which you must make an application for these matters.

Granted with planning conditions

As well as a time limit within which the development must start, the council’s decision may also contain other conditions you must comply with for planning permission to be granted. Some circumstances may require you to apply for their discharge before you can start work on the site, such as submitting details of materials.

Should you wish to apply to discharge planning conditions, you must apply to the local council in writing. This can be done by clearly identifying the relevant permission and the circumstances concerned, by using a discharge of condition form, or via the national Planning Portal. You can ask to discharge multiple conditions within a single application and will be required to pay a fee for each application. If the council decline to approve the discharge of planning conditions, this may lead to enforcement action. Failure to discharge planning conditions can also delay the sale of a property as purchasers may request evidence that you have complied with the conditions.


If your application is refused, the decision notice will explain the council’s reasons for this. You will be invited to ask what changes you can make to reverse the refusal of the application and will be able to submit a revised application within a year without charge. However, should you not wish to submit a revised application, you can appeal the council’s decision by contacting the Planning Inspectorate.

Once the council receives your planning application, they will check it to make sure that you have correctly completed the forms, provided the required plans and sent the correct fee. If your application contains any errors, this will cause a delay in the registration, and you or your agent will be contacted and asked to provide the correct information.
Once your application is correct, the council will send you a letter confirming its validation. This will state the statutory determination period, which outlines the length of time the application should take. In most cases, this is eight weeks from the date of validation but more extensive proposals may be up to 16 weeks. The council should write to you and seek an extension of the determination date if your application cannot be covered within the period stated, giving you a reason for the extension. If you disagree with the extension decision, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of non-determination.
The letter you receive should contain the details of a planning officer at the council to whom your application is assigned. You or your agent can check the progress of your application by viewing the documentation online or by contacting the appointed officer.

Publicity and consultation requirements

Once your planning application is validated, your proposal will be publicised. This marks the start of the formal consultation period, which mostly lasts 21 days. During this time, anyone will be able to submit written comments on your proposal which the council will consider when deciding on your application. The publicity may include individuals directly affected by your project and local community groups as well as
national specific interest groups.
The type of application submitted will determine the specific publicity requirements surrounding your proposal. The council will take all or some of the following action to publicise your project:
Make the application visible on the council’s website.
Newspaper adverts
If your application concerns a conservation area, a listed building or affects a public right of way, it will be advertised weekly in the local press, noting the date by which comments are to be submitted.
Letters to neighbours and parish councils
Some councils may send a notification to neighbours whom the planning officer believe may be affected by your development.
Site notices
The council must display site notices for applications relating to the same concerns as newspaper adverts. Some local authorities will put up site notices for all planning applications.


The planning officer assigned to your proposal will typically visit your site and may look to view it from nearby properties. The officer will consider comments received during the consultation period from other relevant local and parish council departments as well as those from neighbours, the public and outside agencies.
Your planning application will be assessed against the development management policies adopted by your local council, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and any other ‘material considerations’. These ‘material considerations’ may involve many issues but should broadly relate to current land usage and future development. The planning system generally prioritises the public interest; solely private interests are rarely part of material consideration.
The development management policies adopted by your local council may concern:
  •   The design, scale and layout of your proposed development
  •   The location and context of your proposed development
  •   Any considerations affecting the highway i.e. roads
  •   Any considerations involving car parking provisions
  •   The impact of the development on the landscape or street
  •   The development’s impact on neighbouring property
  •   The development’s impact on nearby trees and the local environment
Once your planning application is assessed, the case officer may seek some amendments to your proposal by informing you or your agent. Depending on how extensive these amendments are, the council may wish to extend your proposal’s determination period beyond eight weeks for further notification and consultation.

Final decision

While council planning officers make 90% of planning application decisions, the other 10% are made by the relevant council committee. The dates of these committee meetings should be available on the council’s website, and most authorities allow applicants and the public to speak at council sessions when planning applications are being discussed and decided. The council will notify you or your agent if your application is to be determined by a committee and provide you with details of any public speaking arrangements. You can gain the agenda for the committee meeting by requesting a copy from the council or downloading it from the council’s website. Schedules are usually published at least five working days before the meeting is due to take place.

Most people use an ‘agent’ such as an architect or building surveyor to apply for planning permission on their behalf. Doing this means your agent receives all council correspondence relating to the application. Planning applications are made in two ways: either online through the national Planning Portal or by submitting paper copies of all documents to the council. You can get a paper application form at the planning department office or download one from your local council’s website.

At this stage, you must decide what type of planning application you want to make:

A ‘full’ application

This applies in most cases where you want to change the use of your house or garden, or when you have prepared detailed drawings outlining your plans.

An ‘outline’ application

This is useful if you want to know the council’s thoughts on your proposal before you make detailed drawings. If you make an outline application, you must make another application for ‘reserved matters’ approval before you can commence building.

Home extensions and ‘prior notification’

You are required to submit a standard planning application to the local planning authority and consult neighbours, unless in certain designated areas. Check the relevant procedure with your local council.

What do I need to make a planning application?

There are minimum requirements on the documents that must be presented with any planning application form. This minimum information is:

A site location plan – with the proposed site in red along with any other land you own in blue. The scales of the project must be 1:1250 or 1:2500

A block plan – this is a more detailed location plan for the site and must be at a scale of 1:500

Any drawings of the building’s existing elevation, roof, floor plan and the elevation, roof and floor plan of the proposed works. All of these must be at a scale of 1:100

The correct application fees

Local criteria

Many councils require additional information for certain types of application. You should be able to find details of these ‘local criteria’ with your downloaded application form or via the national Planning Portal. They may include, arboriculture reports, an ecological report if it has the potential to affect protected species and a flood risk assessment where your project concerns land which is liable to flooding.

Make sure to sign and date the ownership certificate that accompanies the application form, along with any notices you have served on other parties with an interest in the application site. If you’d like to mention any exceptional circumstances in support of your planning application, do this through a separate planning statement accompanying your documents.

Check the number of copies of plans and documents that you need to provide, particularly if you are applying in paper form. It varies from council to council but traditionally this will not exceed four copies.
All dimensions and quantities on planning application drawings must be in metric, not imperial, units.


It is not necessary to seek planning permission or building regulations approval for all improvements you plan to make to your home. The types of work permissible without planning approval are defined by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 as ‘permitted development’. Some work may only require ‘prior notification’ rather than full planning permission (explained further below).


Before starting to build on your property, it is wise to ask your council’s planning service whether your project will need planning permission. You can either do this yourself, or ask someone to do this on your behalf, such as an architect or a building surveyor. At this stage, you should try to find out whether any statutory or non-statutory designations affect your property which may influence whether you need to seek planning permission. Examples include:
  • Your property is subject to an Article 4 direction restricting permitted development rights in a specific area or site.
  • Your property is on a national park, area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) or a conservation area.
  • Your property is registered as being of “special architectural or historical interest”.
Your local council may seek a fee for providing you with pre-application advice. They may also ask you to give some cursory details of the extension you intend to build on your property such as its design, size and position. However, these do not need to be the general level necessary for sending with your planning applications. The planning officer at the local council may give you their informal opinion on whether your proposal agrees with the council’s planning policies laid out in its current development plans. The planning officer’s advice may cover issues such as the design of your proposal, materials you plan to use and the scale of the development. The officer may also suggest how your project can be changed so that it is more likely to be approved. However, be aware that this does not guarantee that you will receive planning permission as interested parties and neighbours must be informed and consulted first. For this reason, planning professionals do recommend that you discuss your ideas with your neighbours as they will be informed of your planning application. Speaking early with the planning authority and your neighbours to discover any concerns may save you time and work later in the long run.


In some instances, a covenant on your land or building may restrict its future use. Unfortunately, this cannot be ignored or removed unless done by agreement; discharged by the Lands Tribunal or the land comes into single ownership. As covenants are legally separate to planning, gaining planning permission will not remove a covenant, and subsequently, you may still be unable to implement planning permission until the covenant has been removed.


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