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Last edited 28 Jan 2020
Main types of planning permission
Planning permission is the legal process of determining whether proposed developments should be permitted. Responsibility for planning lies with local planning authorities (usually the planning department of the district or borough council). The legislation, policy and guidance that underpins planning in England can be found on the government's National Planning Practice Guidance website.
Other than permitted developments, (which are considered to have insignificant impact), all developments require planning permission. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 sets out details for developments that might be permitted without requiring a planning application.
There are three main types of planning permission:
Outline planning permission is an application for undertaking a development in principle. The applicant can use it to find out whether their proposed development is likely to be approved by the planning authority before substantial costs are incurred developing a detailed design. Outline planning applications allow the submission of outline proposals, the details of which may be agreed as 'reserved matters' applications at a later stage (see below).
- The layout of buildings within the proposed development.
- The precise height, width and length of individual buildings.
- The appearance of buildings.
- Access to and within the site for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians.
- Landscape proposals.
The details of the reserved matters application must be in line with the outline approval, including any conditions attached to the permission. It may be necessary to reapply for outline or full planning permission if the proposals have changed significantly.
 Full planning (or detailed planning) permission
Where alteration or erection of buildings (or a change of use) is required, full planning permission is the most widely used option. It is made for developments that include building, engineering or other works, in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.
A full planning application is made in detail, in one go – with no preliminary or outline stages – and consent, if granted, is for a limited time period. If the development does not begin within this period, the applicant must apply for a renewal of limited permission.
Other types of planning consent that might be required include:
- Listed building consent
- Advertisement consent
- Lawful Development Certificate
- Prior approvals
- Removal/variation of conditions
- Discharge of conditions
- Consent under Tree Preservation Orders
- Notification of proposed works to trees in conservation areas
- Application for non-material amendments
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