The Planning Process

by | Jul 12, 2022 | Extensions, Loft Conversions, New Builds, Your Home

The Application

If your development proposal requires a planning application, it must be submitted to your Local Authority for them to consider your scheme.  The process can seem daunting to many of you, so we have simplified it here for you

Architects submit the application file to your Council through the Planning Portal, a nationwide system that will ensure the required information is included.

The standard requirements for all application types are:

  • A completed Application Form
  • Location and Block Plan – a scaled drawing showing the boundary of your property in context with your neighbours, and the development marked
  • Full drawings to scale showing the existing property in plan view and elevations, with the proposed development drawn and labelled, again in plan view and elevations

Depending on the proposal and your Council’s requirements, an application may also need details of surveys undertaken, written statements or assessments such as:

  • Design & Access Statement
  • Arboriculture Survey
  • Ecological Survey
  • Wildlife Assessment
  • Biodiversity Metric Assessment
  • Soil Investigation Report
  • Heritage Statement
  • Construction Infrastructure Levy Form
  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Sustainable Drainage (SuDS) Assessment
  • Energy Efficiency Assessment
  • Sustainability Assessment
  • Fire Safety Statement
  • Daylight and Sunlight Assessment
  • Noise Impact Assessment
  • Community Impact Assessment
  • Highways Impact Assessments with Vehicle Tracking and Safety Audits

For most standard Householder applications in urban areas, such as loft conversions and extensions, the above list may not be relevant, but if your home in a conservation area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB) or Greenbelt (GB) then a Heritage Statement will be required to support your application.


Once your application is ready and has been submitted via the Planning Portal, you will be asked to pay the Council Fee.  Your designer will have nominated your email address during the submission and you will receive a link of how to make the payment.  The Council will not validate your application until payment has been received so it is important for you to make the payment as soon as possible.

Week 1 – Validation

Once the Council have your application file and received your payment, they will then validate the application to confirm all files are correct.  This process usually takes a couple of days but can often these days take several weeks.  They will however honour the date of payment for the determination time.

Weeks 2 – 5 Consultation

After the Validation process they will send out consultation letters to all the relevant parties that may be impacted by your proposals or provide statutory consultation on planning applications.  The most common Consultees are:

  • Your neighbours potentially affected by the proposals
  • Your local Parish Council
  • Your local Councillors for your Ward
  • The Environmental Health Department
  • The County Highways Agency
  • The County Sustainable Drainage Systems Department
  • The Ecological Department
  • The Archaeological Department

Planning Applications are a matter of public record and the details will be published on your Local Authority’s website for any members of the public to review and comment on.  An advertisement may be placed in your local newspaper too.

All consultees are given 21 days to respond and any responses are then collated ready for the Planning Case Officer to review.

Your application will be assigned to one of the Local Authority’s Planning Officers during this period.

Weeks 6-8 – Determination

This is the timeframe that your Officer has to review all the application details.  They will look at the drawings and any statements or accompanying documents and read all consultation responses.  The scheme is checked for its compliance with both National and Local Planning Policies, such as size requirements or roofing styles, and any potential impact on your neighbours will be assessed.

The Officer may want to carry out a site visit to look at the proposals first hand, or they may ask for some photographs to help them visualise.  As each Planning Application is individual, Planning Officers view and determine each case differently according to their interpretation of the Policies.  They may ask for further reports, investigations or assessments to be carried out to clarify points that have arisen.  If this is the case, we will contact you to arrange a suitable time for the visit or any information requested.

The Planning Officer may decide that some alterations are required to keep your

design within their policies, and again we will look at their comments and discuss the points with you.  Many Local Authorities have different Local Development Policies that do not have the same allowances as your Permitted Development Rights, and therefore may request size reductions or alterations.

With an unprecedented level of planning applications across the country, it is becoming very commonplace for the Planning Officer to request an extension to the standard decision time, normally 2-3 weeks.  If this is the case, we will accept this and let you know.

The Planning Officer finally makes their decision and composes a report to clarify how they have arrived at their decision.

The file is passed to the Senior Planning Officer to examine and ensure the relevant Planning Policies have not been breached and that they agree with the

Case Officer’s decision. The Decision Notice is then produced which is sent via email to us and published on the website.