Property Developer Guides

Getting to Grips With Planning Applications

Understanding how the planning process works makes a project run much smoother for developers.
To help with gaining planning permission, here’s a step-by-step guide to how local authorities view applications, with some pointers to the pitfalls.

1. What is planning control?

2. The Local Development Plan (LDP)

3. Why you need to read the LDP

4. Submitting a planning application

5. What happens to an invalid application?

6. The consultation process

7. Who makes the planning decision?

8. Planning is rejected

9. Planning is granted

10. Planning granted with conditions

11. Section 106 obligations

12. Delayed or rejected applications

13. Streamlining the planning process

14. Brickflow Guide To Planning Applications FAQ

If the developer feels the application was unfairly rejected, an appeal can go to the Planning Inspectorate for a decision.

The Planning Inspectorate is a government agency set up to take an independent view of applications rejected by LPAs.

– When is planning permission needed?
The Town & Country Planning Act 1990 says planning permission is only needed when:

  • Building, engineering, mining or other operations are carried on in, over or under land
  • Or when material changes are made to the use of any buildings or land

Some of the terms have been interpreted by the courts over the years, so it’s a good idea to speak to a planning professional or the local planning authority for guidance on whether to make an application for your project.

– Why is the local development plan so important?
The local development plan or LDP is a checklist of the factors a developer should consider when making a planning application. The factors will vary between planning authorities, so it’s vital to read the plan specific to your LPA to make sure all the right boxes are ticked for the application.

– The planning decision seems to be taking too long, what can I do?

First, ask the LPA why the process is taking so long and request a timescale to work to. If this is not forthcoming, you can consider appealing to the Planning Inspectorate.

– What is a Section 106 obligation?
A Section 106 obligation is an agreement between planners and a developer when the LPA considers just attaching conditions to planning permission is not appropriate.

The agreement could cover providing affordable housing, building or contributing to the cost of a new school or traffic measures.

– How do I find my local planning authority?
Depending on where the development is located, the planning authority could be a national park, county council, district council or London borough. Go to the RESI website and search the development postcode to find the LPA.