7 Things you Need to Know About the Prior Approval Process

If you’re new to the world of planning and development, prior approval may well be something you have never even heard of before. However, it is vitally important to be aware of this important process, which may be an integral step in your development plans.

Let’s take a look at what exactly prior approval is, when you might need it and a few other important points to take note of.

What is prior approval?

Prior approval is a process whereby certain types of development, specified by legislation, require approval from the local planning authority before proceeding. It is a streamlined process designed to assess specific aspects of a proposed development while bypassing the need for a full planning application. Prior approval typically applies to a range of development categories, such as permitted development rights, which include things like changing shops or agricultural buildings to dwellings, erecting a large extension to a home, and erecting new agricultural buildings.

What are the benefits of prior approval?

The prior approval process offers several benefits for both applicants and local planning authorities. For applicants, it can provide a quicker and more efficient route to gain approval for specific types of development. It also offers cost savings by eliminating the need for a full planning application, which can be a lengthier and more resource-intensive process. Local planning authorities benefit from reduced administrative burdens and can focus their resources on more complex planning applications.

As long as you provide all of the correct information and documents, the prior approval process should be a great deal simpler than going through a planning application. Prior approval is designed to be much less strict in its requirements as it is reserved for permitted developments.

Let’s take a look at seven key points you should know about!

  1. You should never begin work before prior approval has been granted. The clue’s in the name ‘prior’ approval.
  2. You can find out what types of development require prior approval by looking at the General Permitted Development Order Regulations. These have been changed several times so do look for the most recent consolidated version.
  3. The documents and information you need to supply for the prior approval process will vary based the type of development you’re proposing. For example, you could be asked to submit your designs, details relating to transport impacts of the development or flooding information.
  4. If the local planning authority has not notified you of their decision within the timescale allowed by the Regulations, you can begin work on your development, providing it meets the General Permitted Development Order Regulations.
  5. For larger single storey rear extensions, your local planning authority may consult your immediate neighbours. If they raise an objection, the planning authority will take this into account when making their decision.
  6. Sometimes development rights are time limited. For example, some must be completed within a certain time period, and others are only permitted for a certain number of years. This applies to a range of permitted development rights and not solely to those where prior approval is required.
  7. You can appeal a prior approval rejection under section 78(1)(c) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Consulting with a town planner can help you tackle this process with the best chance of success.

Expert Guidance from Planning House

Navigating the intricacies of the prior approval process requires professional expertise and knowledge of the specific requirements and regulations. At Planning House, our experienced town planning consultants are well-versed in the nuances of prior approval. We offer comprehensive services to guide you through the process, ensuring compliance and maximising the potential of your development.

Our Approach:

Initial Assessment: Our team conducts a thorough review of your proposed development to determine whether it falls within the scope of prior approval regulations. We assess the specific requirements and advise on the documentation needed to support your application.

Application Preparation: We meticulously prepare your prior approval application, ensuring that all necessary information and supporting documents are included. Our consultants work closely with you to gather the required details and provide expert advice throughout the process.

Liaison with Local Authorities: We engage in proactive communication with the local planning authority on your behalf. Our team ensures that all relevant parties are informed, queries are addressed promptly, and any additional information required is provided in a timely manner.

Monitoring and Progression: We closely monitor the progress of your prior approval application, keeping you informed at every stage. If any issues or challenges arise, we provide strategic guidance and work diligently to overcome them, ensuring the smooth progression of your development.

Related Content

If you’re unsure about hiring a town planner please read our blog on When to Hire a Town Planner and take a look at our download a Guide on How to Choose a Town Planner.

Whether you have your heart set on extending your current home or looking into converting or changing the use of a building, the first thing you need to do is figure out the scope of permitted development rights. Our Permitted Development & Use Class eBook helps you understand the type of work that typically requires planning permission and which processes you’ll likely have to go through.

Prior Approval Process