Submitting your planning application for approval.

The submission of a Planning Application is a legal requirement to approve the appearance and position of your self build home.

We touched on planning permission in our Buying Land to self build section, but here we’ll have a look at it from a design and approval perspective.

planning application


The Planning System

The planning system is in place to protect the environment and control development of the built environment.

Communities and Local Government produce the national planning policy and local authorities generate ‘Local Development Frameworks’ in accordance with the guidelines. The framework allows the local authority to manage development in a manner that benefits the local community as a whole.

Planning applications for new developments are submitted to the local planning department for approval and applications are assessed in accordance with the local development framework. Consultations with other local authority departments and residents are also considered before a decision is reached.

Types of Planning Application

Outline Planning Permission (OPP)

Outline planning permission indicates that development is acceptable, in principle, on the plot. It is not however, consent to build and the local authority will require a detailed application to be submitted and approved before you can start work. OPP is valid for three years.

Reserved Matters

Outline permission can be converted to full planning through ‘approval of reserved matters’.

Proposal information such as siting, design, external appearance, means of access and landscaping must be submitted within three years of outline planning approval.

Full Planning Permission (FPP)

Full planning permission requires the submission of detailed plans and specification of the proposed property, including its position on the plot, design, external appearance, means of access and landscaping. On approval, full permission is generally valid for three years and work must commence in that period or a new application will be probably be required.

The Planning Application Process

Before Submitting Your Application

Before proceeding to far with the design, your house designer should meet with a local planning officer to discuss your proposals.

They will highlight any issues and advise on adjustments that can be made to smooth the way.

Your local planning department will provide you with an application form and let you know which drawings and information to include with your submission.

Before submitting your planning application talk to neighbours who could be affected by your plans and discuss their views. Hopefully there won’t be any problems but if they have concerns, it is easier to address them before your submission rather than receiving formal objections.

It’s good to get the neighbours on side. You are, after all, going to be living there!

Application Submission

The specific information required for your application can vary and your local planning department will advise on what to submit including local requirements. National requirements typically include the following:

  • Completed application form.
  • Application fee.
  • Existing site/location plan.
  • Proposed site plan.
  • Drawings of proposed work – Floor plans, elevations, sections with levels and roof plans.
  • Material specification.
  • Completed certificate confirming you own the land or have notified the owners of your application.

At least three copies of the information are usually required.

Fees – (As of 14/11/2017)

Outline Planning Application – £385 for each 0.1 of a Hectare.

Full Planning Application – £385 for a single dwelling.

Fees are subject to change, so have a look at the planning portal’s fee calculator for an up to date calculation.

Assessment and Determination

Application submitted and fingers crossed!….

Within a few days you should receive a letter validating the application. Following this the planners aim to reach decision within eight weeks.

Your planning application is placed on the planning register for interested parties to view and comment on.

A planning officer or team will then set to work on assessing whether the proposal is in accordance with planning policies. They will refer the application to various parties for consultation and comment, including:

  • Neighbours.
    • Letters are sent out.
  • The Public.
    • Notices posted on or near the site.
    • Advertisements in the press.

In some circumstances other parties will be notified and consulted, including:

  • The Environment Agency.
  • English Heritage.
  • The County Council.
  • Groups who have indicated their interest:
    • Councillors.
    • Parish Councils.
    • Public Libraries.
    • The Civic Society.
    • The Council for Protection of Rural England.
  • Other Local Authority Departments.
  • The Police.

Anybody has the right to comment on your proposals and the planners may suggest minor changes to your planning application that will allow it to proceed.

If there is strong objection then you may have to attend the planning committee meeting and plead your case against the opposition.

On occasion, a senior planning officer will be able to give a permission decision but more often than not the proposal is referred to the local council planning committee who meet about once a month. The planners present a report and a recommendation to the councillors that is usually, but not always followed.

The Decision

Upon reaching a decision the local authority will send out a letter informing you of whether permission was refused or granted. You will also receive stamped copies of the information you submitted with the application.

If permission is granted then the letter may contain a number of conditions the council has stipulated and which must be met. They will also provide reasons for the conditions.

If your proposal has been refused then you can start over, give up or appeal.


If your application is refused you have the right to lodge an appeal.

In the first instance this will be heard by a Planning Inspector and in extreme cases can be taken to the Secretary of State.

Additional Help

In some cases there may be complicated circumstances for your planning application and it may be necessary to employ the expertise of a planning consultant.

The Planning Portal is loaded with information about the planning system and is well worth a visit for more information.

Other Requirements

With your planning approval in the bag you are a giant leap closer to your self build dream.

Depending on your circumstances, there may be conditions or other consents (such as conservation area consent) that need to be addressed following a successful planning application but in every case the next step is building regulation approval.

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