How to Make a Planning Application

Most people use an ‘agent’ like an architect or a building surveyor to apply for planning permission on their behalf. If you do this then your agent will likely be the recipient of all correspondence from the council relating to the application.

Planning applications can be made in two ways: either online through the national Planning Portal or by submitting paper copies of all documents to the council. You can gain 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. Check with your council to see if they offer this option. If you make an outline application, you must make another application for ‘reserved matters’ approval before you can commence buildings.

Home extensions and ‘prior notification’

Until 30 May 2019, you will be able to build large single-storey rear extensions to your home without submitting a full planning application. However, you will be required to submit a ‘prior notification’ to the local planning authority and also consult neighbours. This does not apply in certain designated areas so make sure to check with the council as to whether you can use this procedure.

What do I need to make a planning application?

There are national minimum requirements on the documents that need to be submitted 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. This must be at a scale of either 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 and roof plan and the elevation and proof plan this is proposed. Both of these must be at a scale of 1:100

  • The correct application fee

Many councils also have ‘local lists’ of additional information which they require for certain types of application. You should be able to find details of these ‘local lists’ with your downloaded application form or via the national Planning Portal.

Matters which may be included in this additional information include arboriculture reports where your proposal affects trees in the area, an ecological report if it has the potential to affect protected species and a flood risk assessment where your proposal concerns land which is liable to flooding.

You should make sure to sign and date the ownership certificate you will find with the application form, along with any notices you have served on other parties with an interest in the application site. If you would like to mention any special circumstances in support of your planning application, you should do this through a separate planning statement to accompany your documents.

Make sure to check the number of copies of plans and documents that you need to provide if you are sending your application in paper form, as this varies from council to council. This will not exceed four copies.