Submitting a Planning Application

This guide is the first of three, about the stages of the planning process.


This guide is the first of three, about the stages of the planning process. It covers:

  • What a Planning Application Is

  • The different types of planning applications

  • What information should be included in a planning application

What is a Planning Application?

Before any new building works can start, you need to check whether planning permission is needed.  You can do this by:

  • Looking at other properties in your immediate area - if something similar has been built, then you can go on to the relevant Council’s website type in an address and see whether planning permission was approved.

If after this, it is determined that you need planning permission, you will then need to determine the type of planning application you should complete.

What are the different types of planning application?

There are eight main kinds of planning application. and the procedure changes slightly depending on which type of planning application needs to be completed:

Full planning permission

Includes all the details about location and design. This is typically used for larger schemes.

Householder planning permission

Includes all the details about location and design but is used for extensions to individual dwellings.

Outline planning permission

Seeks permission for the principle of a development in a particular location - contains less detailed information about design. Usually used for speculative or large developments.

Reserved matters

Agreement of those details not considered in an outline planning permission - This cannot be used as a stand-alone planning application.

Prior approval (for permitted development)

Some types of development are allowed without full planning permission, e.g. converting redundant office space into housing.

Change of Use

this is used to request permission to change the use of a building from one thing to another. However, it can be a little more complicated than it seems because some changes of use do not require full planning permission

Permission in Principle

There are some forms of land where planning permission is granted automatically, for example land which has been developed before (brownfield land) which is included in a register by the planning authority.

Listed Building and Conservation Area Consent

This requests permission to carry out works to a building which has some heritage significance.  If you live in a Conservation Area or a listed building it is best to check with the Local Authority first as to the type of application required.

What information should be included in a planning application?

Different types of planning application will require different supporting information to be submitted. Nearly all planning applications will require scaled drawings. These are usually prepared by an architect or an architectural technician who can survey the site and provide the technical details required.

Site plan

This is usually an ordnance survey type plan set at a scale of 1:1250.  There is often a red line around the planning site area, which shows where the application site is.  Sometimes there will also be a blue line, this is to show that the applicant also owns adjacent land which may not be the subject of the planning application. You can purchase site plans on the Planning Portal.

Elevation drawings

These will show the elevations of the whole building to scale (usually scale of 1:100) both existing elevations and proposed elevations so that the difference in appearance can be clearly seen.

Floor Plans

These will show the floor layout of the building, and usually the internal measurements of the rooms which helps to demonstrate that room sizes comply with the national guidance on space standards.

Design and Access Statement

This statement provides additional information about the style and design of the proposed building often setting out why certain design styles have been followed and how they meet local plan policies set out by your Local Authority.

Planning Application Form

This provides details about the applicant, the agent and the type of development being applied for.  The application form will require information about the size of the site and about the owners of the site.

Community Infrastructure Levy Forms

Most applications which increase floorspace and will require the applicant to pay the Council a levy fee which reflects the uplift value of the land should planning consent be granted.  The money is put towards projects that help the local community.  Forms will need to be submitted at the start of the validation process which sets out who will be liable to pay the fee should planning approval be granted and development works commenced.

Some council’s may also request additional information, depending on their size and location.  For example, you may be asked for ecology surveys to be undertaken if the site is particularly environmentally sensitive, or additional information may be needed about the energy efficiency of a scheme.

In addition to the information, a planning application fee must also be paid.  Planning application fees are set by Government and are standard across the country.  For details about planning application fees, go to

Once all the information is ready, it can be submitted online via the Planning Portal website (but there is an additional service charge if you submit it via the Portal). Alternatively, you can submit paper copies directly to your LPA.  If you choose to submit paper copies, then check how many copies need to be submitted, as the LPA will need three or four copies of all the information to share out amongst different officers.

Planning Application validation

After completing the steps above, you should check that all the information submitted on the planning application is correct. This is known as validating the application. The validation stage is undertaken by technical administrators within the planning department of the LPA, who check all the plans and information submitted is correct and will then formally register the application.  If all the information is not correct or any necessary information is missing, then the technical administrators will set out what needs to be done and the time for complying.  If the information is not correctly received within this time, then the administrators can withdraw the application and the application will not be determined.

Once all the information is validated, the administrators will formally register the application and appoint a planning case officer and send out details of the planning application to relevant parties to allow them to be consulted.