Blog Post

Planning permission: how to boost your approval chances

13.11.2020 | 5 min read | Written by Alexandra Hasek

Have you ever had a planning permission application rejected? Around one quarter of planning permission applications in England do not get approved first time. This can be very frustrating, especially if you have invested time and money in design and application fees. Architect preparing a model for planning permission Whether you are working on an extension to your home or are planning for a major development, one thing that will always increase your application’s chances of approval is solid preparation. Planning applications often fail for the same kinds of reasons, including:

  • Blocking a neighbour’s light
  • Overlooking other homes
  • Use of hazardous materials
  • Not in keeping with the character of the area
  • Impact on trees and nature

Solid preparation means that you anticipate these kinds of objections. Then you can design your plan in such a way that it conforms with all regulations. Here is everything you need to know about planning regulations in the UK, including how you can boost your chances of receiving approval.

What is planning permission?

Whenever you wish to build a new property or make significant changes to an existing structure in the UK, you will normally need to apply for planning permission. The purpose of planning permission is to ensure that the local council and nearby residents who may be affected by the structure get a say on what is built. For a large-scale development, you may need to prepare for several rounds of consultation with these stakeholders. The approval process also scrutinises new buildings so that they comply with environmental and safety regulations. They should also avoid altering the character of the surrounding area. Depending on where you live in the UK, you will need to apply to a different planning authority.

To apply for planning permission, it is easiest to use the Planning Portal website which allows you to make applications to any local authority in England and Wales. In Scotland, you can use ePlanning, or PlanningNI in Northern Ireland.  Fees also apply, and these will vary depending on the size, location and purpose of the project. Fees vary, but this list from 2018 will give you a feel for the average price for different kinds of structures.

How long does it take to get planning approved?

After submitting your application, you should normally receive a response within eight weeks. However, this may vary depending on the complexity of your application. If you receive any objections you may have to make changes to the design, which will extend the timeline. As a result, there is no average planning permission time frame.

UK planning regulations are becoming more flexible

In July 2020, new planning regulations were proposed which were designed to cut red tape and encourage more building. The new planning permission framework intends to address the country’s housing shortages, regenerate town centres and allow more upward building. Three different priority levels for construction have been developed which apply across the whole country. In certain areas which are considered ‘ready for development’, all planning applications will be automatically approved, therefore making the process of getting the green light for your project much smoother.

More legal learning: Read about construction litigation and disputes

3 tips for getting planning permission

Any application for planning permission will require you to provide the following information:

  • Five copies of the application form
  • A signed ownership certificate
  • A Design and Access Statement
  • The planning permission fee

You will also need to supply the following plans for planning permission:

  • A site plan, which shows the planned changes in detail
  • A block plan, that shows the location of the site in the local area
  • Elevations of the proposed site

To give your planning application the best chances of success, it’s important to make sure you provide the required information. This is especially true for the third point in the above list, because an unclear building plan, or a design which fails to consider issues such as the neighbours’ access to light, will damage your case. Here are three ways to ensure that your plans are most likely to receive approval:

  1. Detailed building models

Provide detailed building plans to give your planning permission application a boost. If possible, use a BIM model which the council can analyse in depth. BIM models allow people to visualise how the proposed structure will sit in relation to its surroundings. In any case, the more detail you can provide with your model, the more likely you are to get approval.

  1. Demonstrate compliance with rules and requirements

Your planning permission application is more likely to be approved if you actively demonstrate compliance with all legal requirements. If your application shows that the building complies with sustainability regulations, or that it facilitates access for emergency services, your chances of approval will be significantly higher.

  1. Evidence of due diligence

In your application form, as well as in your site and elevation plans, try to show that you have undertaken due diligence to meet local needs and national regulations. Demonstrate, for instance, that you have taken into account the position of existing trees. Another idea is to provide architects’ drawings which show how your building fits in with the character of surrounding streets. Overall, the more evidence you can provide, the more likely that the Planning Department will approve the application.

Use technology to support planning permission applications

Whether you run a boutique architecture firm, a planning permission consultancy or are a major property developer, complying with planning regulations can be time-consuming. And this is where new technology can help. PlanRadar is a construction management app which allows you to store all your building models and related documentation in a single place. This means that when it comes to applying for planning permission, you can easily review all your building models and blueprints and analyse them for due diligence purposes. You can also use the app to collaborate with all necessary stakeholders. You can also create and complete all kinds of custom due diligence checklists. Above all, pulling together all of this data thoroughly improves your chances of receiving approval the first time round. Learn more about PlanRadar’s due diligence, evidence collection and checklist features that support planning permission applications – or start using the app for free today.

Get started in 4 easy steps.

1. Create an account

2. Upload plans

3. Invite team members

4. Download app