Why You Need a Site Plan

Why You Need a Site Plan

No matter how big or small your project, there is one universal truth: getting the site plan right is absolutely crucial to any project. A lot of time, thought, and money goes into getting it right, so in this article, we have explained precisely what a site plan is and why they are so important to securing planning applications.

What is a Site Plan?

Architect pinning up planning application site plan

A site plan, sometimes known as a block plan or site layout plan, is a landscape plan detailing proposed improvements or changes to a given space. It acts as a graphic representation of the changes that someone is proposing to make in an area, taking into account and visualising the effect on footfall, travel-ways, parking, sanitation, and trees and shrubs. Site plans also often include information on external lighting, earthworks, and other relevant things.

A site plan is separate to a location plan, sometimes (confusingly) called a site location plan. Location plans are further zoomed out and show how your site will affect the local area. A location plan is often at a scale of 1:1,250 or bigger, while site plans are typically much smaller.

Site plans are an essential part of requests for planning applications. All planning applications need to show the development in detail. This enables the local planning authority (LPA) to recognise the land to which the application refers to and how you propose to change it.


How do I Make a Site Plan? 

Man in high visibility jacket makes Cornwall planning application document

The site plan should be drawn at a clearly recognisable scale, and usually somewhere between 1:50 to 1:500 scale. It ought to show the proposed development, how it relates to currently existing buildings on the site, and dimensions and proximity to site boundaries. It should also, for clarity, signal north, so readers can orient themselves when reading.

The drawing should also include the following, except in rare circumstances:

  • All buildings, roads, and footpaths connected to the site.
  • All public rights of way adjoining or on the site.
  • All trees on the site, as well as those on adjacent land if relevant.
  • The types and extents of hard surfaces.
  • All boundary treatments, including walls and fencing.

Most importantly, the site plan should show the proposed development alongside all existing buildings and structures. Simple applications can combine the existing and proposed site into one ‘plan’, while more complex proposals should show what a site currently looks like separate from the proposed changes to the site.

The best way to get your hands on a site plan is to use Ordnance Survey mapping data. This is because the Ordnance Survey provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive maps of the UK. Specifically, MasterMap data is the best for site plans, because it shows the outline of each house, the pavement, dipped curves, and other features.


How Much Does a Site Plan Cost?

House planning application site plan

You can draw a site plan yourself, in which case the cost is the materials and time you invest in making the plan. However, it is much easier and saves a lot of hassle to request one from an Ordnance Survey licenced partner. As they use the most up to date information to create a site map, you have the security of knowing your information is accurate; submitting out of date or incorrect information in a plan is one of the most common reasons a planning application is rejected. The three licenced partners – ReQuestaPlan, Streetwise, and BuyAPlan – sell plans starting at £8.50 plus VAT, though depending on the type of plan and document you need, the price varies.


This covers everything you need to know about site plans. We have dealt with planning applications in Cornwall and have secured planning permission for sites across the South West. If you would like any advice on your needs, please get in touch and give us a phone call or leave us a message and we will happy to be of assistance.

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