Applying for planning permission Making the application

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This article, Applying for planning permission, was last updated on 28 March 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference.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

Getting hold of the forms

Once you have had feedback from the council's planning office, request the relevant forms to apply for planning permission. You can ask your local planning office for the forms, or download them from its website. When you request the forms, ask if there are guidance notes to help complete them.

Each local authority can have different forms to fill in depending on what type of planning permission is required. For example, some councils have a special form for household extensions, others for changes to a listed building.

“Errors on the application form will delay the process: get your form checked.”

Planning application costs

It is important to find out how much the planning application will cost as you need to make sure you budget for it. It is also wise to retain some monies, say £1,000–£2,000 in case you need to make amendments to plans, re-apply, appeal or have to make changes to the build to meet regulations.

The amounts charged vary across the UK. Check with your local authority the exact amount to ensure that you include this payment when you apply for planning permission, as they cannot progress your application without it.

Filling your forms in correctly

If you make errors on the application form, this will delay the process from the start. So, even if you are making the application yourself, it might be worth getting advice from a planning consultant, builder or local architect, even if you have to pay them for their help. It’s good to get a second opinion from a professional.

Many people also forget to send in the correct number of forms and plans, so check and re-check that you have provided the right information to meet your council's requirements.

Other paperwork that is often missed is the ownership certificate form, which declares that you are the owner of the property. Even if someone else is doing this work on your behalf, it is a good idea to check the application before it is sent, just to make sure you are happy and that they have fulfilled all the obligations prior to submission.

Other common mistakes include not using the correct colours for edging on your plans. They must show the site for application in red and the part of the area that you own in blue. It is also important to ensure metric measurements are used (feet and inches don’t get you very far in the planning process).

Research your planning application

Planning applications that get accepted and go through trouble-free within the government's recommended eight-week timeframe are usually those that have been carefully researched prior to being presented.

Talking to a council planning officer is particularly valuable if you are able to get access to them. People who don’t get their applications accepted usually haven’t taken enough time to check what can and can’t be done or taken advice from planners before a decision is made.

It is also a good idea to look at other properties in the street or in the area to see if they have done anything similar that would help support your application. For example, if you want to have a loft conversion with dormer windows – has anyone else done it? Take pictures and send them with any application or when you are asking the planning officer’s informal advice.