Applying for planning permission How long will it take?

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This article, Applying for planning permission, was last updated on 28 March 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Home & garden articles.

Although every local authority works differently, there are typically five stages to your planning application:

Stage 1 Confirmation that the application is valid (this should happen within a week). This is a fairly quick stage that checks the paperwork has been done correctly and that you have paid the required sum for it to be considered.

Stage 2 Consultation (another 21 days). This is where you see the white or yellow A4 signs in proximity to the property that is affected. They are usually attached to a lamp post, fence or similar. The local newspaper is also likely to carry a ‘notice’ section that covers a summary of the planning applications received. If the application affects neighbours, letters are sent to them too.

Stage 3 Consideration (two weeks). A case planning officer looks at the property and the planned changes and takes into consideration any feedback received during the consultation process.

Stage 4 Negotiation (within one week). Where necessary, the planning department may ask you to make some changes to the application. This may require you to go back through stages 2 and 3 if major changes are required.

Stage 5 Recommendation (one week). The application goes through a committee or an individual in the planning office for a decision. The planning officer will come back to you or your appointed representative, such as your architect, builder or planning consultant. In some cases, for substantial changes to a property, it may be put forward to a public meeting, which any objectors can attend. The case is considered ‘openly’, with a decision reached at that meeting.