Home Insights & Advice Planning permission: A guide on what you need to include with your planning application

Planning permission: A guide on what you need to include with your planning application

by John Saunders
18th Nov 21 3:07 pm

Planning permission is a notoriously long-winded and frustrating process. There are plenty of places where you could potentially go wrong with a planning application, or unintentionally miss out important information. There are policies and procedures both regionally and nationally that you need to adhere to, alongside balancing these factors with what you really want out of the plans. If it’s your first time applying for planning permission, you may be feeling confused about where to start. So, we’ve created the following guide to help you understand the steps involved in creating a planning application and some of the information you need to include.

Types of planning permission

The type of planning consent you will need to be granted will depend on what is involved in the project you’re planning. There are two types of planning permission- full planning permission and outline planning permission.

Full planning

Full planning (also known as detailed planning) covers a building’s change of use or alterations to the existing structure, as well as the building of new structures. Full planning permission requires very detailed plans including all the necessary information. Although it is possible to draw up plans yourself, it is a complicated task so it’s worth having your plans drawn up by an architect or the lead consultant of the project. Whoever draws up the plans, make sure to include all the necessary details so that you stand the best chance of avoiding having your plans rejected or having to reapply.

Outline planning

Outline planning can be thought of as a similar process to a mortgage in principle. The outline planning is a process in which you can apply for planning permission to see of it becomes granted. At this stage if it gets accepted it is only in principle- meaning you can’t yet go ahead with beginning any building work until full planning permission has been granted. The benefits of outline planning permission is that it gives you an idea of whether or not the plans you have in mind would be granted. Full planning permission requires in-depth plans being drawn up, which can be expensive, for it to then potentially be rejected anyway. Outline planning is a way to avoid these costs, as well as having a clearer indication of whether your plans could be successful.

Reserved matters

Reserved matters is the final stage of the planning permission process. It is the stage you go through to be finally granted planning permission. You will be asked to provide extra details regarding details such as the height, width and appearance plans for buildings. As well as landscape and access plans. These details should have been included in the original full planning, and you need to make sure they have not been adjusted in any way as this could lead to your plans being rejected in the reserved matters stage. There is also usually a time limit for how long you’ve got to submit the plans in this stage, usually 3 years.

Biodiversity net gain

Due to the passing of the Environment Bill in government, all developments should have a 10% biodiversity net gain before any work is allowed to be carried out. Biodiversity net gain is an approach to creating developments in which the local biodiversity is left in an improved condition from being developed. This can involve including green and wildflower spaces, woodland, or spaces for animals to live. Examples of biodiverse contributions include:

  • wildflower meadows
  • bird and bat boxes
  • planting suitable trees
  • planting flowers that bees and butterflies can pollinate
  • beehives

as well as creating new spaces for wildlife to thrive, developers are expected to be considerate of avoiding damaging existing habitats and woodland, and potentially harming and disturbing wildlife within them. If any damage to surrounding wildlife is caused, as the developer you will be expected to not only counteract the damage- but also improve it and make it even more biodiverse than before. Working with an ecologist you can create a plan of how to improve the biodiversity of a site and achieve a biodiversity net gain of at least 10%- the required amount necessary to be approved for planning permission. Companies such as Arbtech are specialists in biodiversity net gain, and their expert ecologists can give you advice on how you can improve your biodiversity net gain on your development.

National requirements

Some basic national requirements to include in your application consist of:

  • the standard application form- you can get this from your local planning authority
  • the location plan- showing the site and the surrounding area
  • the site plan- showing in detail the plans for the development and how it will be laid out
  • proof of ownership
  • agricultural holdings certificate
  • fire statement- in some instances
  • design and access statement- in some instances
  • the application fee

Regional requirements

What you will need to submit regarding regional requirements will vary from county to county, and the type of plans for your development. You can find out more about what regional requirements are necessary from your local planning authority through your local council.

Bat surveys

In some instances, you may have to have a bat survey carried out in order to assess whether there are any bats or bat roosts present. All bat species in the UK and Europe are protected by law and it is a criminal offence to destroy, disturb or relocate any bats and their roosts without expert advice and legal permission. There are hefty punishments if you fail to inform local authorities of the presence of bats or even empty roosts. If you’ve had a bat survey carried out, you should include any data and findings from the ecologist in the planning application.

Personal details

Within the application you should include your contact number and email address, but no further details. As planning details can be posted on the website of your local authority for other locals and neighbours to look over- resulting in a breach of GDPR regulations.

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