What is planning permission?

7. What is planning permission?

Planning permission (or consent) is required in the UK for all new development.  ‘Development’ is defined as any building or engineering operation, or the ‘making of a material change of use’ in any land or building.  Certain types of routine maintenance are excluded from the definition of development and specified minor or insignificant types of development are granted automatic permission, therefore not requiring a planning application. These are known as ‘permitted development’ and are covered below.

Planning applications are considered by the relevant local authority and, based on the above definition, any proposal is therefore subject to a two stage initial test:
‘Is the proposal development at all?’ and if so, ‘is it permitted development?’  If the answers are yes and no respectively a planning application will be required.

Please note that planning consent should not be confused with building regulations approval (which is covered below) – they are entirely separate.  Planning is concerned with the use of land and the design and appearance of the proposal, building regulations are concerned with technical matters of structure and construction.

Planning permission can be one of the main hurdles to overcome when thinking about building or changing your home and should be considered right from the start of the design process.  Our in-house specialist planning consultants have an expert understanding of planning policy, which evolves constantly, and can advise at an early stage on what may be achievable either as permitted development or, if necessary, as a planning application.  A common misconception is that because (for instance) similar extensions have previously been allowed in a street, yours will automatically be allowed.  This is not necessarily the case as planning policy changes over time and particular circumstances may vary.  As a matter of course, we carry out an initial planning review on all projects before commencing design work and will advise you on the likely prospect of consent.

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