Applying for planning permission Types of permission

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This article, Applying for planning permission, was last updated on 28 March 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference.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

Outline planning permission

You would typically apply for outline planning permission if you wanted to build a new home or make major changes to an existing property. Once this was granted, establishing the idea that something new could be built, you would then apply for detailed planning permission (see below). 

Outline planning permission isn’t usually needed for smaller home improvements. Some people apply for outline permission initially as it is cheaper than applying for detailed planning permission and they fear a detailed application may be rejected. If you have a listed building, then you have no choice but to go straight to detailed planning permission.

Outline planning is useful if you are not sure where to site a building – such as a garage – or if you need to establish a new access to a property. However, if you consulted the planning office, this should have been sorted anyway. You can always ask whether outline planning is advisable or applying for full planning approval would be a better option.

If you do apply and receive consent for outline planning, then you have up to three years to apply for full planning permission and at least start to build.

Detailed planning permission

This is the route that most large home improvements will need to take. To fill in and send off the form, you will usually need to include:

  • Contact details (these may be yours, your builder's or those of your architect).
  • An indication of what type of application you are making.
  • Details of any changes to access to the property.
  • A list any trees, buildings or part of the property that will need to be taken down.
  • Information about drainage and external materials you intend to use.
  • Ownership certificate (declares that you are the owner of the property).
  • Four copies of the form and any additional plans/inclusions. You will only need to include a plan for major changes, change of use or new buildings. Send the plan on copies of an Ordinance Survey map showing the site with and without the changes. The scale needs to be 1:250 or 1:2500 and show the direction of north.
  • Fees form and the fee (by cheque).