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  • Qualified Tradesperson

    Planning Permission Explained

    It’s the part of building and renovating that everybody dreads. Will they let me carry out my plans? What if they don’t? Do I even need planning permission?! It’s a minefield! Well, let’s start at the beginning…

    Do I Need Planning Permission?

    The chances are if you are building something new like an extension or are making any major changes to a building, you will need planning permission. The easiest way to find out for sure is to contact your Local Planning Authority (LPA) early on in your planning development. If you continue without permission you could be made to take down the building or extension. You can search for your LPA here.

    There are circumstances where you don’t need planning permission, such as if your build has absolutely no impact on your neighbours or the environment, but don’t make this decision for yourself, contact your LPA to have them confirm that this applies to your situation.

    It is also possible for your community to grant planning permission if they are in favour of the build without having to go through the normal process. This is part of an initiative called Community Right to Build. This would normally be in a situation that benefits the community as a whole such as a community centre, but can also be used to build family homes to sell on the open market if there is a shortage in the area.

    Applying for Planning Permission

    Your LPA will advise you about how to go about applying and it is a good idea to meet with a planning officer to discuss your project. You must submit the necessary plans of your site, supporting documentation, along with the fee and completed form. Discuss with the planning officer what you will need by way of plans and supporting documentation to speed up the application process, which normally takes 8 weeks. More complicated applications can take up to 13 weeks, but if the application takes longer than 13 weeks you can appeal.

    It is now possible to apply online through the Planning Portal, where you will also find comprehensive advice about what your need to include and they have video tutorials to guide you through the process.

    What Your LPA Considers

    Local Planning Authorities are looking to see if your build fits in with its own development plan. They will consider things like the external appearance of the building including the size and layout; any landscaping that is required; the infrastructure available such as water supply and road access; and the purpose of the development. Talk through these items with your planning officer beforehand to ensure a smooth application process.

    Appealing a Decision

    Should your application be rejected, which hopefully won’t happen if you’ve followed the above advice… don’t worry, it is not the end of the road. You may be able to make amendments to your plans and come to an agreement with your LPA. Appeals can take several months, which is why you should meet with a planning advisor before your initial application to try and avoid this part of the process. Take a look at this government list to see the reasons why you may appeal a decision. The Planning Portal also offers excellent advice on making a planning appeal.


    Don’t spend all this time securing planning permission only to use poor tradespeople to do the job! Take a look at our list of rated tradesmen in Bristol to make that part of your planning a little more straightforward.

    Wednesday, 09 Apr 2014

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