HOW TO MAKE A PLANNING APPLICATION
There are minimum standards for the submission of a planning application which must be strictly adhered to or else an application will not be registered as ‘valid’ by the LPA.
Poor preparation can lead to unnecessary delay in its determination of an application once submitted.
The rules are made up of a mix of statute, guidance and regulations, but include basics such as correctly completed application forms and proper plans, supported by more detailed information and assessments the nature and content of which should reflect the size and nature of the proposals.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN A PLANNING APPLICATION
What forms and reports are needed to make a planning application? As a general rule, the following information will be required in support of a planning application:
COMPLETED APPLICATION FORMS
These vary depending upon the type of application being made.
THE CORRECT PLANNING APPLICATION FEE
Planning applications are subject to statutory planning application fees which vary depending on the type and size of application being made.
For outline applications, fees are based on site area. For full applications, the fee is based on the amount of floorspace being provided. Some applications attract a flat fee.
The Planning Portal provides a planning application Fees Calculator.
Local authority Planning departments can advise on the fee payable in each case.
This must show the general location of the site and surroundings at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500. Plans should identify sufficient roads (normally two) and/or buildings on land adjoining the application site to ensure the exact location of the site is clear. It must also show the direction of North. Any plan from or based on Ordnance Survey data must be annotated with the appropriate license number.
The site should be clearly edged with a red line and should include all land necessary to carry out development – e.g. land required for access to the site from a public highway, visibility splays, landscaping, car parking and open areas around buildings.
A blue line should be drawn around any other land owned by the applicant that is close to or adjoining the application site.
OTHER PLANS AND DRAWINGS
Other plans and drawings may be necessary to help describe the development. Early discussions with an officer from the LPA should help with identifying which plans and drawings are needed. T
They may include:
- Existing and proposed floor plans and elevation plans at 1:50 or 1:100 scale.
- A block plan at 1:500 or 1:200 scale presenting the location of the proposed development in detail along with other features which should be understood e.g. site constraints.
- Topographical survey plans showing existing site levels.
- Existing and proposed site sections, finished floor and site levels at 1:50 or 1:100 scale.
All plans must show the direction of north, include a reference number, be dated and distinguish clearly, preferably in colour, between existing and proposed development. Where appropriate, they should also be fully annotated with building and plot dimensions, the existing/proposed site boundaries and site access points. Some authorities require paper sizes and a scale bar to be shown on all drawings.
LAND OWNERSHIP CERTIFICATE
The Certificate is part of the forms to be completed. Notice must be served on any other landowners or tenants with over 7 years left on their tenancy, or agricultural tenants. There are advertisement procedures that must be followed in cases where not all landowners of a site are known.
OTHER SUPPORTING INFORMATION
Although not compulsory, it is highly advisable to submit a planning statement. This is chance to ‘sell’ or make the case for a scheme to the LPA.
The statement should set out the basis of the application, any consultation, the options considered and how the proposal meets and helps to implement planning policy, (including any relevant supplementary planning documents).
It should also present why the development is required and the benefits and merits of the proposals. If it has been identified that the proposals will create some adverse effects (e.g. on neighbouring uses) then proposed mitigation measures to help address and offset these should be set out.
DESIGN AND ACCESS STATEMENT
Design and Access Statements are compulsory for most types of large application. For example, they are required for a building or buildings where the floorspace created will be of 1,000 sqm or more, and for development on a site of 1 hectare or more.
Even for smaller projects such as house extensions, they can be helpful to prepare and submit in support of an application.
Design and Access Statements clarify how a development will be of a suitable design and quality, both in appearance and function. The statement should be concise but explain the suitability of the development to its site and setting, including the nature of and reasoning for the chosen siting, layout, scale, design, appearance and landscaping.
It will include how the development:
- will be accessed by a range of transport modes including proposed access points
- will ensure inclusive access for all prospective users to and within the site and all relevant facilities
- meets relevant Local Plan policies regarding design and access
- has been informed by the options considered and consultation undertaken and how it’s proposed design and accessibility has responded to any issues raised.
In some cases, depending on the scale of the application, Design and Access Statements and Planning Statements can be combined into a Planning, Design and Access Statement.
OTHER TECHNICAL STUDIES / ASSESSMENTS
Depending on the size and scale of a project and any individual site issues, a range of reports may have to be prepared to support an application.
These could include:
- Biodiversity Survey/Protected Species Report; Topographical Survey;
- Tree Survey and Impact Assessment;
- Flood Risk Assessment;
- Noise Assessment;
- Foul Sewage Assessment;
- Structural Survey;
- Archaeological Assessment;
- Heritage Assessment;
- Lighting Assessment;
- Open Space Assessment;
- Landscape Assessment;
- Transport Assessment;
- Water Quality/Water Framework Directive Assessment;
- Crime Impact Study;
- Other assessments related to specific features within or close to the site (e.g. power or railway lines).
It is important that you seek early advice either from any planning professional or consultant you have instructed or during discussions with your LPA as to which studies might be required to support your application in order to avoid unnecessary expense and potential delay.
For example, some biodiversity studies, can only only be undertaken at certain times of the year. Transport counts should be undertaken during school term times to give a fair representation of the usual level of peak traffic levels.
Professional assistance will be required to prepare many of these studies.
TIPS ON PREPARING A VALID PLANNING APPLICATION – AVOID COMMON ERRORS …
Each local planning authority will have local validation requirements which should be followed. These local requirements are additional to the national minimum requirements for the submission of applications. Guidance on the type of application and what needs to be included with your application should be clarified with the LPA pre-application.
The Local Validation Checklist will specify the information that needs to be provided by an applicant to enable their application to be considered ‘valid’.
Things to check for to give your application the best chance of being validated first time:
- the right application form and its certificates for the type of application being applied for has been completed correctly;
- the necessary fee has been provided;
- the necessary plans, drawings and supplementary information have been provided;
- all plans and drawings are to a recognized metric scale;
- all plans and drawing have the scale clearly shown;
- all plans and drawings are consistent with each other; and
- all plans and drawings are readable and capable of being electronically copied.
SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION
The Planning Portal can be used to submit most applications for planning permission online, without the need to separately submit paper copies to your LPA.
Plans and documents can be uploaded via the Portal and electronic payment can be made.
As soon as payment for the application has been confirmed, it will be passed to the relevant local planning authority for the application process to begin.
Once validated by your LPA, your application will be assigned to a case officer who will begin to assess the application.
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