What is planning permission – and when is it needed?

Planning permission, sometimes also called consent, is needed in the UK and Ireland for building to be legal, or to change the way buildings or land are used. It’s been a requirement since 1948 on any new development, which in law means any building operation, or any material change of use.

Routine maintenance of a building is exempt from planning permission, as are some types of minor development, which qualify automatically for planning permission so no application for consent is needed. This is called permitted development.

When you need planning permission

It generally is needed if:
• You are changing the way a building is being used.
• You are making a significant change to a building.
• You are building something new.

How to apply

You can apply online for planning permission – and that’s how the vast majority of applications are now made. The benefits are obvious: speed and a user-friendly system which allows you to attach plans and drawings and which offers guidance and advice every step of the way.

What happens next?

Your local planning authority (LPA) – usually the council – will decide whether to give your project planning permission based on the authority’s own development plan, rather than whether or not local people want it to go ahead.

Various factors will be taken into account when making a decision, including landscaping needs, how the development would be used, available infrastructure and the impact the development would have on the surrounding area. Number, size, layout and buildings’ external appearance are also all looked at.

In most cases, your application will be decided within eight weeks, or, for particularly complex or big projects in England, up to 13 weeks maximum. You are allowed to appeal if things take longer.

Equally, you can appeal if you can’t reach agreement with your planning authority, even after perhaps trying to do so by adjusting your plans. But the appeals process can take months, and you are only allowed to appeal against a planning decision within certain limitations.

Leave nothing to chance

It is of course, far better to get planning approval the first time you apply. At Manchester Design and Build, we don’t just build extensions, new homes, kitchens and bathrooms – we design them too. And because of our extensive knowledge of the English planning system, as well as building regulations, we know what will work and what won’t. We’ll be with you every step of the way through what can sometimes seem a complex process. Talk to us today.