What is Planning Permission?

The construction of a new building or making extensive changes to existing buildings are both circumstances that require consent from the local planning authority. The planning permission system is designed to put restrictions on inappropriate development and to maintain an acceptable standard of appearance.

When is Planning Permission Required?

Planning permission is required for any large-scale home construction, such as building from scratch, adding extensions or outbuildings.

When Planning Permission Isn’t Required

Some building projects don’t require planning permission as they have ‘permitted development rights’. Building projects with these rights include:

  • Warehouses and other industrial premises
  • Outdoor signs and advertisements
  • Demolition projects
  • Projects with no impact on neighbours of the environment

It is important to check whether you have these development rights in place before you go ahead with any work.

What is the Cost of an Application?

It costs up to £385 to apply for Full Consent of planning permission (the cost varies between England, Wales and Scotland). The costs for improvements to existing houses (such as an extension or outbuilding) are significantly less.

How Your Application is Processed

To make a decision about your planning permission, your local planning authority will consider the following:

  • The number, layout, size, sitting and external appearance of buildings
  • The available infrastructure (e.g. water supply and roads)
  • Any landscaping requirements
  • How you plan to use the development
  • How your planned development could affect the area (e.g. if it would create more traffic).

When Will I Get a Reply?

Once you have sent your application, you will receive a written receipt from the local planning authority. Following this, you will be sent a written approval or refusal within 8 weeks of your application. If your application is refused in excess of the eight week period then you do have the right to make an appeal.


If your application is refused, you should first attempt to come to an agreement with the local planning authority by making relevant adjustments to your plans. If you still cannot come to an agreement in this way then you do have the right to appeal. There is a time limit for appeals and it can take several months for a decision to be made.

You may appeal against a decision if the local planning authority:

  • Refuses your application
  • Grants your planning permission but with conditions you do not approve of
  • Refuse to change or remove a condition of the permission
  • Refuse to approve something under an ‘outline permission’ plan
  • Refuse to approve plans you were told to create by your LPA as part of a previous process
  • Refuse to make a decision about your plans within the deadline
  • Hands you an enforcement notice claiming that you have broken planning permission when you don’t agree

Is There an Expiration Date on Planning Permission?

Planning permission is granted for three years meaning you must begin work within this period or face reapplying.

Can I Alter my Plans?

You are permitted to make minor alterations to your planned work by applying for a non-material amendment. However, any major alterations will require a further application for Full planning permission.