Planning permission FAQs

Written by Helen Needham – a Chartered Architect and The Architectural Department Manager here at Oakwrights, and Craig Alexander – a Chartered Architect within our Architectural Design team


If you’re planning to build your own home, we’ve answered some of the common planning questions to set you on the right track for a successful application.


1. What is planning permission?

Planning permission is required in order to carry out certain building works, and ensures the appropriateness and potential impact of a development is given due consideration before being built.

Permission can be granted for new structures, changing or enlarging structures, changing use of land or buildings, or for quarrying or the mining of minerals.

It’s a separate process to Building Regulations, which covers a wide range of safety and structural issues.


2. Who grants planning permission?

Your local authority planning department is responsible for considering planning applications. Each of these planning authorities determine planning applications in their area.

3. Why do I need to get planning permission?

Planning is about how we plan for, and make decisions about the future of our built environment. Your local planning authority is responsible for deciding whether a development (anything from an extension on a house to a new factory) should go ahead.

Clever planning combined with sensitive design and landscaping can make some development acceptable where it would previously be thought unsuitable. This is the reason applications are considered so carefully.


4. Do I always need planning permission for a development

No; certain developments can be built without the need for planning permission. This is known as ‘permitted development’.

A given size of extension is usually permitted development, which is typically set in measurements from the rear or side of your existing house. However, any previous extensions on the property since it was built counts towards the total allowable figures. You should always seek advice from your local planning authority before considering additional work.

We'll advise you on the permitted development guidelines

5. What is the development plan?

Each local authority is required by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to prepare a development plan for its area. The plan should set out a strategic vision for the area and be subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The plan also contains local policies for land use. These local policies consider how those uses should look, operate and interact with the environment are set out in the plan.


6. What is an EIA and how will I know if it’s needed?

An EIA assesses how the proposed development will impact both the nearby environment and on the wider environment generally. It’s required for some sorts of development under European legislations. You’re advised to contact your local authority for further information.

Oak frame homes lend themselves to sensitive designs

7. How long should it take to decide whether to grant permission?

This will depend on the type of application you’re submitting. local authorities are required by legislation to determine those planning applications which need an EIA within thirteen weeks and all other applications within eight weeks. Failure to determine the application within these deadlines means that the applicant can choose to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of non-determination.

Planning permission typically expires three years from the date of approval. It isn’t possible to apply to extend the time period; a full application would be required. It is often better to make a meaningful start on site (subject to pre-commencement conditions) to secure planning permission as there is no time limit on completing your project.


8. How much does planning cost?

The planning fees can be found on the Planning Portal. Here, you’ll find further information about planning and Building Regulations, applying for planning permission, developments near you and appeals against decisions.

We'll work with your local planning authority

9. How can I get help in submitting a planning application?

You can submit a planning application online via the Planning Portal. The portal is designed so that you only need to fill in the relevant information for the type of application you wish to make. You can also appoint an Architect or planning consultant who can provide professional advice and experience when making an application.


10. How do I deal with objections?

It’s important to remember everyone has different experiences and expectations for the local environment. Considering objections in a rational way rather than an emotional way is vital in order to ensure your application has the optimum chance of being approved. Public objections are only a small part of what a planning officer will be considering when deciding an application, so objections certainly don’t mean your application will be refused.

However, we recommend you liaise with your neighbours and try to understand, and carefully deal with any opposing points of view.


Would you like to find out more about securing planning permission for your future oak frame home?

Call 01432 353 353 or email to speak with our in-house Architectural Design team.

In-house Architect, Craig Alexander, will provide expert planning advice

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