Think Tank Articles

Planning: A basic introduction to development and planning consent 

Arkhi Parallel Panels Extension

The planning system can be difficult and a stressful part of your dream project. We’ve put together some helpful guides to aid the process and explain in depth some of the ins and outs of the system.

What Is Development and Do I Need Planning Consent?

Before embarking on the daunting task of designing and building your own home, it’s important to understand the planning system - this could help you avoid unexpected costs and downfalls enabling you to secure approval for your dream project. As a multidisciplinary practice, this is something we will advise and guide you through but here are some notes and thoughts to help get you started.


According to Paragraph 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (T&CPA), development is defined as ‘carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any building or other land’.


Its important to understand what building operations include under the definition of development. According to the T&CPA, building operations include:

·         Demolition

·         Rebuilding

·         Structural Alterations of or additions to buildings

·         Other operations normally undertaken by a person carrying on business as a builder


Alternatively, and more importantly for clarity, building operations do not include:

Carrying out for the maintenance, improvement or other alteration of any building of works which:

·         affect only the interior of the building

·         do not materially affect the external appearance of the building.

What Are The Types of Planning Concent?

Planning consent can be broken down into three main sections: Permitted Development, Prior Approval and Express Permission. It’s important to understand where your scope of work would fall in this hierarchy so you can be sure you have the acceptable level of consent and potential design your project within certain parameters of size for example.

Simplified Hierarchy of the Planning System

Permitted Development Rights

Permitted development allows for development to be undertaken within certain conditions and parameters as outlined in the 'Order of Permitted Development 2015' in the 'Town and Country Planning Act 1990without express planning Consent from the LPA.


You can find out more about Permitted Development by reading our article ‘Uncovering your PD Rights: A Householder’s Guide to Permitted Development Rights'.


Even though Permitted Development Rights now cover a larger amount of development, there are certain types of development that need additional licenses and surveys – these conditions can be mitigated by applying with a Prior Approval application.


Prior Approval

In addition to the Permitted Development Rights, to streamline the planning system, Prior Approval applications were introduced to allow additional development under the Permitted Development route. In order for development to be eligible for these permitted development rights, each ‘Class’ specified has associated limitations and conditions that proposals must comply with.


One such condition may be the submission of an application to the LPA to determine if it’s Prior Approvals will be required. This allows the Local Planning Authority to consider the proposals and their likely impacts in regard to certain factors (e.g. transport and highways) and how these may be mitigated.


Examples of Prior Approval conditions could be:

·         Works on protected trees

·         Advertisement consent

·         Listed building consent

·         Hazardous substance consent

·         Environmental permits/licences

·         Building regulations


It is important to not commence any work on site until you have a formal decision from the LPA in regard to your Prior Approvals application. At Arkhi, we have experienced professionals to advise and guide you in dealing with this process.


Express Permission

When development does not fall within the permitted development route or even within the submission of a Prior Approval Application, Express Planning Consent will need to be granted through your Local Planning Authority.


This can be achieved by completing an application form, attaching the associated application fee and submitting the relevant documents to the LPA. The LPA will then notify potential stakeholders and consultees to allow comments on the application before coming to an approval or refusal decision on the scheme.

Types of Planning Applications + Fees

There are several different types of planning applications depending on the type of development you are proposing.


·         Householder Planning Consent

·         Full Planning Consent

·         Outline Planning Consent

·         Reserved Matters

·         Listed Building Consent (LBC)

·         Advertisement Consent

·         Lawful Development Certificate (LDC)

·         Prior Approvals

·         Removal / Variation of Conditions

·         Approval (Discharge) of Conditions

·         Consent under Tree Preservation Orders

·         Notification of proposed work to trees in conservation areas

·         Application for non-material amendments


You can find out more about each individual Planning Consent type through the Planning Portal website.


Generally, each planning consent application is paired with an associated fee depending on the scale of the scheme -this is proportionate to the amount of work that needs to be conducted by the LPA. The Planning Portal has a handy link to a fee calculator which can be access here. It is worth noting that the incorrect fee can delay your application being validation once submitted.

What Is The Planning Process?

Describing the planning process, evenly briefly, can be a large and arduous task. Therefore, we’ve created a separate guide dedicated to walking you through the basics to the planning process with reference to specific drawings, official documentation and what to watch out for when it comes to planning conditions / obligations.

How Can We Help?

At Arkhi, we offer services and architectural advice through stages 0-7 of the RIBA Plan of Work.

If you’d like you know more please feel free to contact us by clicking here.