How can land and property owners find the answer to this crucial question? If you approach an architect or a planning consultant, they will most likely advise that if you want to be certain of gaining planning permission, then you should submit a ‘Pre-Application Enquiry’ to your Local Planning Authority (LPA). A Pre-Application Enquiry is effectively a ‘dress rehearsal’, allowing you to have your plans reviewed, and then you can make amendments before the formal submission.
So you commission your plans, and submit them to your local planning authority. But then what?!
The ideal scenario is you submit your application, they write back and invite a formal planning application, implying they will approve your plans! In a less ideal situation, the LPA, suggests some changes to your design to make it acceptable. But the worst case scenario is that either the LPA writes back and says they would refuse permission for your proposal or worse still, your LPA doesn’t write back at all, leaving you in the dark entirely!
Due to current resourcing issues in LPA’s, this last scenario is becoming more common.
For some time now, many LPAs have faced the challenge of increased workloads and significant resourcing constraints. Determination of planning applications is taking longer, often beyond statutory timeframes and in some Local Authority areas, householder pre-application engagement has been withdrawn altogether as there simply isn’t the staff available to resource it.
On the 6th December 2023, the Government abolished an applicant’s right to ‘a free second go’. This is where applicants can withdraw their first planning application or accept a refusal, and then resubmit a revised scheme for free. Removing this review step will make it more difficult for land and property owners to get their planning proposal right first time.
Without always being able to submit a pre-app to test the water, and the removal of the ‘free second go’, how can you be sure whether you will get planning permission or gain assurance and certainty for your plans in a cost efficient and timely way?
It’s becoming harder to know where to go to get advice on the rules and regulations of extending their homes, converting their barns, working from home or converting their house to a holiday let.
Planning Genie offers pre-recorded masterclasses, delivered by professionals, giving land and property owners digital access to instant, expert planning knowledge and insight. By helping people better understand the planning system, the rules and requirements that apply to their proposed developments, Planning Genie provides an alternative approach to pre-application enquiries and helps you better understand what you can and can’t do in planning terms.