Last edited 12 Jul 2017

Reserved matters in planning permissions

Outline planning applications can be used to find out whether a 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.

On 10 August 2006, changes to the outline planning permission process came into force intended to make outline planning applications more 'detailed' and so to restrict the extent of reserved matters.

Reserved matters that might be the subject of further applications once outline planning consent has been obtained can now include:

  • 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 in any way.

Outline permission is not a permission to start work on site. The permission notice will state which matters have been reserved for later approval. When all of the reserved matters have been approved, work may begin on the site.

Reserved matters applications should be submitted within 3 years of outline permission being granted.

Outline planning permission lasts for two years from the date reserved matters were approved, or three years from the date of the outline planning permission, whichever is the later.

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