A Quick Guide to Planning Permission for Budding Property Developers

Land and property purchases are two of the most exciting, albeit costly, financial decisions that an individual can make. Whether you’re a novice just starting to climb the property ladder or a seasoned property/land buyer, stepping out into the world of property purchasing and development can be an exciting business venture or part-time hobby for determined individuals. For those familiar with land and property purchases, you’re probably well acquainted with the trials and tribulations of such; however, for budding enthusiasts, knowing where to start can be daunting. 

There are many steps to consider, from budgeting to organising the works and obtaining planning permission before your property development project can begin. To help you join the 2.5 million property investors in the UK, we’ve created a quick guide to planning permission aimed at budding property developers so that any doubts can be eliminated to ensure that your project remains on budget and is delivered on time. 

What Is Planning Permission?

One of the most significant challenges individuals face when embarking on a property development project is obtaining planning permission, otherwise known as planning consent. Planning permission refers to the official authorisation from the local authorities or governing body for an individual to erect a new building or make alterations to an existing building or similar developments. Another aspect to consider is that the application process for planning permission can cause unexpected challenges for budding and seasoned property developers.

Since it can be a time-consuming and delicate process, no matter the size of the proposed works or whether you feel as though your proposal is reasonable or not. This is due to the fact that just about anything can cause hindrance to your application process, from complaints from your neighbours to issues with the development’s biodiversity net gain and many other compromising factors. Not all property development projects require planning consent; however, we recommend double-checking with your local authorities regardless so that you don’t run into any unexpected complications. Although this usually depends on the circumstances surrounding your proposal, what work you have planned, if the project is largescale or not and any other complexities that could affect it. 

Will I Need Planning Permission? 

As we touched upon briefly in the previous section, whether you will require planning permission or not very much depends on the circumstances surrounding your planned proposal and if any underlying complexities could hinder the works or cause damage to surrounding elements. Typically, you will require planning consent if you’re looking to build something new, make a significant change to an existing building such as an extension etc. or if you’re looking to alter the use of a building. 

Suppose that you’re unsure of which category your proposed works will come under; in this case, we recommend contacting your local planning department, checking online via the Planning Portal, which handles all elements of your planning permission application, or you could consider employing a planning consultant. Either way, your local planning department or the planning consultant you hire should be able to point you in the right direction and give you further advice regarding planning permission and your proposed development project. 

How Can I Apply For Planning Consent?

To apply for planning consent, you’ll need to fill in a planning permission application form that you can obtain through your local planning authority or do so online via the Planning Portal we mentioned above. Providing that you have the means of applying online and are computer literate, completing your planning permission application via the Planning Portal reaps many time-effective benefits such as ease of application, being able to check on the status of your application at any time, allows you to easily upload supporting documents via cloud technology and many other benefits. 

Alternatively, suppose you don’t have a computer or feel confident using one. In that case, you can apply for planning permission by enlisting the help of a friend or family member and applying via proxy. The person filling out the application on your behalf doesn’t even have to be a close friend or relation; you could ask the person in charge of your build to apply on your behalf, or your architect or the individual in control of your legal affairs so long as they’ve got your permission to do so. Worst-case scenario, you can fill out your application manually and submit it once completed via the Post Office. 

Will I Need To Get Any Other Surveys Completed?

Alongside completing the application process for planning permission, budding property developers may be surprised to find that your local planning authority might ask you to conduct various surveys to determine the ecological impact of your planned proposal. The outcomes of these multiple surveys will also impact the status of your planning permission application and whether it will be fit to grant permission. Depending on your local planning authority, you may be asked to provide the results of various surveys ranging from endangered wildlife surveys to tree surveys and arboriculture surveys. 

Providing your governing body with the results of these surveys will help them decide whether your project is fit for approval and ascertain that the biodiversity net gain of the development will not be affected too negatively. Utilising the services of ecological consultancy companies, such as Biodiversity Net Gain Plan, will help you carry out the surveys required for your planning permission application. From assessing the biodiversity net gain of your development to tree and habit surveys, they will be able to assist you with a range of ecology surveys so that you can obtain your planning permission as soon as possible. 

Will I Suffer Consequences If I Don’t Carry Out These Additional Surveys?

Failing to produce the results of any surveys that your local planning authority ask of you can cause severe consequences to your proposal and yourself legally. If you don’t get the relevant surveys carried out that your planning authority has asked for, your planning permission application will be denied, and your scheduled works will not be able to go ahead. Suppose that you were to go ahead with your property development project despite being rejected. You would then be committing a ‘planning breach’, which isn’t illegal, but further breaches can lead to an enforcement notice, the disregard of which is unlawful.