Top 10 Issues with Planning Permission Applications

For homeowners and professional developers alike, planning permission issues are anything but uncommon.

Where issues with planning permission stand between you and the successful completion of an important project, the frustration can be unbearable.  Particularly in instances where planning permission is rejected on the grounds of a simple oversight or application error.

So to help future candidates with their applications, here’s a quick rundown of the 10 most common mistakes and general issues with planning permission applications:

  • Justifying your project on someone else’s

Just because someone else in the vicinity has been permitted to do whatever it is you intend to do doesn’t immediately validate your application. All decisions are considered by way of individual merit and the goal posts are being moved all the time. Hence, making too many comparisons or references to someone else’s project really isn’t the way to go.

  • Submitting too much information

Leaving out important details is never advisable, but there’s also such a thing as including too much information. Applications must be complete, but should also be as concise and digestible as possible.

  • Designing before buying a plot

Planning permission applications are considered by way of the prospective project’s potential to complement its surroundings and neighbouring buildings.  As a result, it’s risky to go ahead and start designing a property or build, before you’ve found the perfect place for it.

  • Over-egging eco claims

Environmentally friendly projects are far more likely to be given the go-ahead than their polluting counterparts. Nevertheless, if your base your application heavily on eco claims, you can expect your application to be scrutinised even more aggressively than normal.

  • Altering your design after commencement

When the project is underway, you may change your mind about various aspects of the final build. Unfortunately, anything that deviates from the precise plan you submitted could result in the planning permission being withdrawn.

  • Overlooking local politics

Your project may not break any formal rules, but sizeable opposition from local residents could scupper you plans. If possible, it’s a good idea to get as many people on your side as possible, prior to submitting your application.

  • Expecting an easy ride

Your planning permission application process may be smooth and simple, but it could also be an unmitigated nightmare. Expecting an easy ride is a recipe for disaster – it’s far better to plan for every eventuality and be ready to plead your case in minute detail.

  • Entrusting substandard tradesmen

Most builders and traders in general will be happy to help in some way with your planning permission application. Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re doing. What’s more, their reputation and stature may have an effect on the way your application is interpreted and assessed.

  • Underestimating the costs

Basic planning permission application fees aren’t particularly extortionate.  However, you also need to factor in any other assessments, surveys and reports that will need to be carried out by the council, prior to approving your application. Most of which you’ll be expected to pay for, or at least heavily subsidise.

  • Applying at the last minute

Last but not least, local councils typically advise an average application processing time of up to eight weeks. Nevertheless, there’s every chance it will take significantly longer than this for all checks to be carried out and for approval to be granted. If the project you have in mind has any formal deadline whatsoever, you need to think about applying for planning permission at the earliest possible stage.

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