If you’re planning to construct a property or to reconstruct or renovate an existing structure, the first step is to gain necessary approvals from the local planning authority (LPA). The planning permissions you’ll need depend on a number of factors, such as the type and size of your proposed project and the approvals that apply to construction of such nature.
Submitting a planning application with the local authority is a tedious process and to ensure that your proposal won’t be held up or rejected, you must ensure to get the application right the first time itself. Supporting your application with the right documentation, including a location plan, as required by the LPA is crucial.
Here is a quick guide to the planning application process.
- The first step is to find out if the project does require planning permission and which type of application is to be submitted. To make the task easier, consider meeting with a planning consultant to understand the why’s and how’s of the application process with respect to your specific project.
- Seek guidance from the planning authority of the area where your construction site is located, as it is to them you’ll be submitting your planning application. You can seek a formal consultation with an LPA officer for a fee, which differs for each authority and for the type of consultation sought (i.e., written or personal meeting).
- Meet with the planning officer to understand if the property you wish to construct comes under permitted development. If not, you’ll need to file a planning application.
- Additionally, seek clarity on other issues that may affect the proposal—such as any possible objection by neighbors, whether the proposal should be for new development or change of use, and the supporting documentation that will enable swift approval of your application.
- Get a letter of approval from your community to further strengthen your application. Explain to your neighbors the construction work you intend to undertake and the duration of the project, and resolve any concerns before you ask them for a letter of support. Getting written support of your neighbors and the local parish council will help in expediting the application review process.
- Prepare a checklist of the documents required to support the application. This includes architectural design drawings of the proposed structure, location plan and block plan, specialist reports as per LPA guidelines (such as environmental statement, highway statement, biodiversity ecological survey and report, etc.), planning statement, design & access statement (DAS), and any other relevant documents as required by the LPA.
- Recheck the checklist to ensure nothing has been left out.
- Remember to include high-quality detailed maps, printed to scale defined by the LPA.
- Submit the application online along with the specified fee or mail a hard copy to the authority office along with a check for the application fee. You can also pay the fee via phone using a debit/credit card.
Planning applications require a detailed site map alongside other documentation. If you’re in the process of submitting a proposal to your local LTA, consider including a map produced by a professional mapping services company. For instance, check this comprehensive map at http://www.promap.co.uk/maps-and-data/current-mapping/os-detail, derived from the original Ordnance Survey MasterMap®, which is used widely by engineers, architects and real estate and land development professionals as supporting documentation for property planning applications, land valuation, site selection, site evaluation, risk assessment and a number of other uses. These maps are available in a number of different formats and can be customized and annotated as per your requirement.
What happens once your planning application is submitted?
Upon receiving your application, the local council will put up the drawings on their website. This is followed by several rounds of consultations with community members such as your neighbors and the local parish council. The proposal is also presented to technical experts to seek their feedback and recommendations.
Once all concerned parties have reviewed the application and given their comments, the planning officer will personally visit the project site and ensure that the proposal is in line with the relevant local laws and policies. After preparing a final report, the planning officer will approve or reject your application formally. Planning permissions are valid for a period of three years from the date of approval.
If you did everything right, the chances of your proposal getting rejected are slim; however, there is always a possibility that the planning officials might notice something amiss. If your proposal is rejected, you can file an appeal within a stipulated time period from the date of refusal.