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The role of Prior Approvals

Jan 30, 2023

By Laura Potts MRTPI, Planning Consultant, CAD Planning

Many people are not aware of the term “Prior Approval” or the role that it plays in the planning process. It is a good idea to understand what this means and how it may have an impact on your plans.

There are many types of development that you can carry out without obtaining formal planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights.”

However, certain types of permitted development, while not requiring full planning permission, still require you to obtain Prior Approval from your local planning authority before you proceed with the work. In these cases, it is vital that you do not commence work before the Prior Approval is granted.

What developments are affected?

You can find a full list of the developments affected by consulting the latest version of the General Permitted Development Order Regulations. Some typical examples of developments that would need Prior Approval are:

· Rear extensions to your house that have a depth greater than 3 metres

· A change of use of a shop to a house

· A change of use from an agricultural building to a house

· A change of use from an office to a house

· Adding additional storeys to a building

· The construction of an agricultural building

How do you apply for Prior Approval?

You would need to make a formal application to your local planning authority, which would need to include all the required detail as set out in the in the latest permitted development legislation. You will also have to pay an application fee and the amount will vary depending on the type of development. The application forms can be found on the Government’s Planning Portal page.

The kind of information you may need to supply can include:

· Written description of the proposed development.

· Location plan

· Site plan

· Technical measurements, such as height, width, length, and area

· Details on the design and external appearance

· Flooding information

· Impacts of the development, such as noise, air quality, or effect on local transport

· Fire safety information

· A land contamination report

· An ecology report

In the course of the process, your planning authority may contact you and ask for further evidence to be supplied to demonstrate that your development would not have a negative impact. In certain cases, such as house extensions, they may consult with your immediate neighbours, to see if they have any objections which should be taken into account.

Decisions on Prior Approvals

The intention is for the Prior Approval process to be relatively straightforward, so that your planning authority can make their decision quickly. The normal default period for making a decision is 8 weeks from when the application was received, but this can vary depending on the type of proposal and, in some cases, may be extended if all parties agree.

If you have not been notified of a decision within the timescale allowed by the regulations, then you can begin work on your project, provided it meets the requirements of the General Permitted Development Regulations.

If your application for Prior Approval is rejected and you think this is an incorrect decision, you may have grounds for making an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, which is an independent Government body.

A positive aspect of the Planning Approval process is that, compared to a full planning application, there is less subjectivity in the decision. Planning applications will be influenced by your local authority’s unique criteria. Prior Approvals are based on fixed legal requirements and should therefore be easier to achieve.

Getting expert help with Prior Approvals

At CAD Planning, we can take all the hassle out of applying for Prior Approval.

While the application process is designed to be straightforward, every development project has its own challenges. It is important to ensure that all the key information is in place to support your application and that it is presented in a way that gives the best chance of success.

With CAD Planning, you can rely on our impartial, expert advice for Prior Approvals or any other aspect of the local planning process.

Contact us today at: info@cad-planning.co.uk

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