If you are looking to construct a completely new building or make extensive changes to a current structure, you will more than likely require planning consent from your local authority. Anything which involves the building of a new property will need planning permission as will adding an extension or outbuilding, depending on the size of the project in question.

If you haven’t been through this process before it can be a little daunting as there can be a lot to remember. That is why we have taken a look at the application process and how to apply for planning permission.

1 – Where to Apply

The best way to apply for planning permission is to either speak with your local authority or seek information online. Anyone has the opportunity to apply for planning permission, but in many cases, it is usually the homeowner who manages the application if not acting through an agent. It is important that you visit your local authority’s website as you will be able to find out about the cost of the planning application, as well as the level of information required.

2 – Get Advice Before You Apply

This is probably one of the most important parts of the process, and in order to have a good chance at your proposal being accepted, you should speak with a professional regarding pre-application advice. Usually, you will seek advice from your local authority, and each authority will vary their approach as well as cost. They will be able to give you a good indication of how successful your application will be and if it needs to be amended before it is submitted, but it is important to note that this will be non-binding.

3 – Get the Paperwork in Order

After you have had your pre-application advice, this should highlight any reports or paperwork which you need to compile. Usually, you will have to submit your application form alongside a location plan, proposed and existing elevations and floor plans, and an ownership certificate. Additionally, you may also have to provide them with a design and access statement which will explain the thinking behind the scheme and the justification behind the project. The criteria can often be strict, so it is important to have the necessary supporting documents, and you will be able to find a list of requirements on your local authority’s website. If all documentation is not in place the application will be rejected before it even reaches the planning officer in charge.

4 – Application Progress

Once the application has been submitted, your local authority’s planning department will check the application as well as the supporting documents provided. Many councils will try and respond to your application within eight weeks of it being registered, and during this time, the statutory consultees are notified which include the parish council, highways department and even your neighbours, who will be invited to respond if they are unhappy with your application.

5 – Look at Conditions

Once your application has been approved, you should take the time to read any conditions which may be included. The majority of applications come with conditions such as signing off a landscaping scheme or having materials approved before work commences.

If you have conditions you need to abide by, you will have to formally apply to discharge these conditions and receive a letter to confirm you have done so, as if you don’t, this will invalidate your approval.

Due to these conditions, you may need to slightly amend your design after you have your approval. To do this, you can either use the minor amendments route, which can be used for issues like different window positions or submit a new application.

6 – Rejection

There are many reasons that your application could be rejected, and your local authority will take into account material considerations which can include:

  • Loss of privacy
  • Traffic
  • Noise
  • Loss of light
  • Parking
  • Layout and density of building
  • Impact on a listed building and/or Conservation Area
  • Appearance
  • Proposals in the development plan
  • Previous planning decisions

While your neighbours are invited to make comment on your application, only objections based on material considerations can be taken into account. If there are no objections, then your local authority will usually grant planning permission. However, if there are valid objections, the decision will be made by a vote by the local planning committee.

If planning permission has not been granted, then you should look carefully at the reasons given. This is when it is important to seek the advice of a planning consultant who will be able to advise you. Here at Martin Perry Associates, we can assist with your planning applications in Cornwall as well as Devon, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.