Planning Permission

If you are in the process of buying land or are looking to make more of the land you already own. You will need to know about planning permission issues.

Is Planning Permission Required?

This is of course the first question. Small changes you make to the land such as putting up walls and fences below a certain height, have a general planning permission for which a specific application is often not required.

A general rule of thumb is that if there is not already a building on a piece of land then planning permission is likely to be required to erect any new building on the site. Your local council will be able to give free guidance on whether planning permission is required. Once you have considered this advice you can take the next step.

A formal decision can be requested. This requires a fee and is known as a lawful development certificate. If your council refuses a certificate, you can either apply for planning permission, or appeal to the Secretary of State - it has been known for the Government to over-rule local councils on these issues.

As with buildings land is also subject to planning policies on the change of use. To change farmland into a garden, planning permission is likely to be required.

Planning Consent and Cost

Land with planning consent is more expensive. This is because the vendor has taken the time and expense to turn their piece of land into profit. Unlike land without planning permission you have a written guarantee of planning permission as long as the work is started within the remaining timeframe - a maximum of five years from the date of issue.

For maximum profits in land, it is better to consider land without planning permission, but if time and risk is an issue then paying the higher asking price is the only option.

Stages of Planning Permission

You may see the abbreviations such as OPP or DPP thrown around but what do they mean? Each refers to the particular type of planning permission.

Outline Planning Permission (OPP) is the stage at which the planning department has agreed the basic principle of the development. It literally outlines the project e.g. To build a 4 bedroom two storey dwelling.

The next stage is Detailed Planning Permission (DPP). The details are then examined in depth - your plans, the dimensions, and building materials will all form the basis of a final decision.

Most people go through both stages of planning permission. Applying for OPP will save you the cost of having expensive, detailed house plans drawn up before you know if you will be able to build on the land. It is possible to go straight to the detailed stage, although you stand to lose the money invested in the plans.

Once Detailed Planning Permission is gained you have five years to begin work.

If you are looking to buy land without planning permission with a view to future development you should consider the following factors outside of your control that can determine whether your application will be successful:

  • Access
  • Overlooking from neighbouring houses;
  • Obstacles, such as electricity substations and telegraph poles;
  • Trees
  • Made-up ground; drains, indicated by manhole covers;

Related Articles:

Planning glossary

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