How Do I Apply For Planning Permission?

If you’re planning to build or make significant changes to your property, you might be asking, “How do I apply for planning permission?” Understanding the UK town planning laws and regulations can simplify the process. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to help you navigate the planning permission application process effectively.

What is Planning Permission?

Planning permission is the approval required from your local planning authority (LPA) to carry out building or development work. It ensures that changes to buildings and land use consider their impact on the environment and the community.

When Do You Need Planning Permission?

You need planning permission for:

New Buildings: Constructing a new house or building.

Major Alterations: Making substantial changes to an existing building.

Change of Use: Changing the use of a building or land.

For smaller projects, like adding a shed, you might not need planning permission if it falls under “permitted development rights.” If you think this applies to your project/development, you might find our article What can be built without planning permission? useful. However, always check with your local planning authority.

Steps to Apply for Planning Permission

1. Preliminary Research

Before you apply, conduct some preliminary research:

Local Plan: Review your local authority’s development plan, which outlines the policies and guidelines for development in your area.

Permitted Development: Check if your project falls under permitted development rights, which means you might not need full planning permission. We have a great ebook on permitted development that you might find useful.

2. Pre-Application Advice

Contact your local planning authority for pre-application advice. This step can provide:

Feedback: Initial feedback on your proposal.

Guidance: Advice on any potential issues and how to address them.

3. Prepare Your Application

When preparing your application, you’ll need to gather several documents:

Application Form: Complete the appropriate planning application form. Forms are available on the Planning Portal website or your local authority’s website.

Site Plans: Provide detailed site location plans and block plans showing your proposed development.

Other Plans: Existing and proposed elevation and floor plans may also be required.

Supporting Documents: Include any additional reports or surveys required, such as

– Design and Access Statements – which explain the design principles and concepts, and how the proposal complies with planning policies. Check out our Practical Guide to Design and Access Statements.

4. Submit Your Application

Submit your planning application through the Planning Portal or directly to your local planning authority. Ensure you include:

Application Fee: Pay the appropriate fee, which varies depending on the nature and scale of your development.  Take a look at our recent article about fees.

Supporting Documents: Attach all required documents and plans.

5. Application Validation

Once submitted, your application will be checked for completeness. If any information is missing, the authority will contact you for additional details. Once validated, the application process officially begins. Check out our article Avoiding Delays in Validating a Planning Application.

6. Public Consultation

Your application will be subject to a public consultation period:

Neighbour Notification: Neighbours and relevant parties will be notified of your proposal.

Site Notice: A notice may be displayed near the site, and the application might be advertised in the local newspaper.

Our article Navigating the Maze: A Basic Guide to Planning Applications provides a step by step guide to the planning process.

7. Decision

The local planning authority will make a decision, typically within 8 weeks (13 weeks for major developments):

Approval: If approved, you will receive a decision notice with any conditions you must follow.

Refusal: If refused, you can amend your proposal and resubmit or appeal the decision. Check out our article Know Your Options If Your Planning Application Is Refused.

8. Post-Decision

If your application is approved:

Compliance: Ensure you comply with any conditions attached to the planning permission. Check out our article Discharge of Planning Conditions: Best Practices for Developers.

Building Regulations: Obtain building regulations approval (if required) before starting construction.

If your application is refused:

Appeal: You have the right to appeal the decision within 6 months.

Re-Application: Address the reasons for refusal and submit a revised application.

You might find our article Top 10 Tips when considering Appealing a Planning Refusal useful.


Applying for planning permission can seem daunting, but following these steps can simplify the process. Whether you’re planning a small extension or a major development, understanding how to apply for planning permission is crucial.

If you’re unsure or need assistance, contact Planning House for expert guidance. We’re here to help with all your town planning needs.

Related Content

More information for you is available in our series of eBooks and Practical Guides which cover everything from the very basics of town planning to application processes and what developers need to consider.

You might also find our article Navigating the Maze: A Basic Guide To Planning Applications of interest.

If you’re not sure if you need help from a Town Planner take a look at blog on When to Hire a Town Planner our download a Guide on How to Choose a Town Planner.

How Do I Apply For Planning Permission