Most new buildings or major changes to existing buildings or to the local environment need consent  known as the planning permission. Your local planning authority is responsible for deciding whether a development should go ahead. Planning application is a set of documents explaining your newly proposed works and they are to be submitted to your local authority for approval.
All new-build or exterior changes to an existing property have to be approved before commencement of any construction works. Any unconsented built works will suffer high risk of enforced demolition demanded by local authority.

What is Planning Drawings?

Planning drawings are the architectural drawings that must be submitted as a part of any planning application to your local planning authority. The drawing package must show the appearance of the existing property, current site characteristics and all that are relevant to your proposed works. The drawings will also identify the alterations (eg. extension, conversion, etc.). The case officer will use the planning drawings to assess the overall development and apply the current planning policies to justify their recommendation before a decision is made.

To submit a planning application to the council, planning drawings will be required for most cases. All planning applications will include a site plan (scaled at 1:500 or 1:200) and a location plan (scaled at 1:1250). Sometimes, if no external changes are proposed then elevations and roof plans are not always required. However, we highly advise all our clients speaking to the council before making an application, this is to find out what is exactly required for your application and to validate the planning application without unnecessary delay later.

What is Permitted Development (PD) ?

Permitted development rights are basically rights to make certain changes to a building without the need to apply for planning permission. These derive from a general planning permission granted by the Parliament, rather than from permission granted by the local planning authority. The Permitted Development is only applicable under certain limits and conditions. If you are a homeowner and you wish to find out if your extension falls under Permitted Development rules, you may find this official guideline helpful.

Additional advice: although the Permitted Development works can be theoretically carried straight through without a planning consent (until 30 May 2019), there is a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) awarded to you if you submit an application to the National Planning Portal (official online interface for all planning applications) in notifying the proposed works; if your extension is between 3-6 metres (attached house) or 4-8m (detached house), you have to notify the Local Planning Authority due to implementation of a neighbour consultation scheme  if objections are received, the proposal might not be allowed. The Certificate comes particularly handy in increasing the value of your property estimate, as it provides a valid proof for the approval of extension works from the official authority.

To submit a Permitted Development application, you also need a Planning Drawing Package to illustrate the proposed works.

How much does it cost to submit an application?

Every property is unique in its own way. Its specific conditions and your alteration plan will affect the cost estimate accordingly. For example, the price for a loft conversion application will be different from a side extension application because you will need a different set of drawings for the application, sometimes a different type of application, too. To find out a customized price for your property development, please contact us and we will be delighted to offer you a consultation by phone or over a site visit to your property.

How long the process take?

Initial Design Process:

It is important get your application right, that's why sufficient time should be allowed to consolidate your desired design before the application is made. After our initial meeting, we will prepare several options for you to choose, discuss and agree. The time required for this step is highly dependent on your response time; nevertheless, taking time to calmly consider your choices is always the best way to go, as well-thought decisions prevents potential problems arising from planning process, construction stage, sometimes even after completion of the proposed works (incurring enforcement letters from local authority asking for demolition of entire built structure, wasting all your efforts, time and money).

Local Council:

Once we have prepared your planning application and documents and when you are happy with them, we will submit your application on your behalf. The council should determine your planning application in eight to ten weeks once the application is validated. As your agent, we will liaise with the council throughout this process, ensuring your peace of mind all the way through.

What if your application is rejected?

We will resubmit the application for you free of charge, after a full enquiry into the reasons of objection and we will provide a revision that satisfies both of the planning authority and your mutual interest.

Usually there are several common reasons to a rejected application; should it be a situation when no remedy is applicable (your neighbour has rejected the application for example), unfortunately an appeal application should be made to the Planning Inspectorate under guidance of a soliciting expert within 6 months of your rejection notice (28 days if you have received an enforcement notice).

What are planning appeals?

An appeal can be made under two situations:

1. After receiving application result from your local planning authority, you may not be satisfied with the decision (eg. a refusal was issued by the local council, or some of the conditions are not acceptable to you).

2. no decision has been made within 8 weeks after your application was validated (13 weeks for major developments with 10 or more dwellings or a building more than 1000 square metres for instance).

The official government website offers a helpful explanation page:

What is Retrospective Planning Application?

A Retrospective Planning Application is to be submitted to your local planning authority if any alterations have been made/built to your property without a planning approval. Any developments without a consent is a breach of planning control, which may incur legal actions taken by the government; therefore, it is important to react immediately and appropriately if such situation is applicable to you.

The application process is almost identical to a regular planning application, except that all relevant submission materials should include details of all relevant pre-existing conditions (conditions before the built alteration), and the application requires a set of properly scaled drawings as an essential document at most times.

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