Planning Permission: What It Is and How to Obtain It

If you’re considering making any significant changes to your property, it’s essential to understand the concept of planning permission. It is a legal requirement in most countries worldwide that regulates the use and development of land and buildings.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the basics of it, including what it is, how to obtain it, and what happens if you don’t get it.

What Is Planning Permission?

Planning permission is a legal document that provides permission to build, extend, or alter a property. The purpose of planning permission is to ensure that any changes to land or property are in line with local planning policies and regulations.

There are several reasons why it is necessary. Firstly, it helps to maintain the character and appearance of an area. For example, if a large development were built in a rural village, it could significantly alter the character of the village and impact the local environment.

Secondly, planning permission ensures that development is carry out safely and sustainably. This means that any changes must be made in a way that is environmentally friendly and does not negatively impact the local community.

Lastly, it helps to manage the demand for land and property. By controlling the number and type of developments, planners can ensure that land is used efficiently and that development is distribute fairly across an area.

How to Obtain Planning Permission

Obtaining planning permission can seem daunting, but it’s a relatively straightforward process if you know what to expect. Here are the five steps involved in obtaining it:

Step 1: Check if You Need Planning Permission

Before you start any work on your property, you should check if you need planning permission. Some changes, such as minor internal alterations or small extensions, may not require it.

You can check if you need planning permission by contacting your local planning authority or checking their website.

Step 2: Develop Your Proposal

Once you have established that you need planning permission, you will need to develop your proposal. This includes creating detailed plans and drawings of your proposed changes.

It’s important to consider how your proposal will impact the surrounding area and community. You should also ensure that your plans are in line with local planning policies and regulations.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

To apply for planning permission, you will need to submit an application to your local planning authority. This application will include your detailed plans and drawings, as well as information about the proposed changes and how they will impact the local area.

There is usually a fee for submitting a planning application, which varies depending on the type and scale of the proposed changes.

Step 4: Wait for a Decision

Once you have submitted your application, the local planning authority will review it and make a decision. This process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of the proposal.

During this time, the planning authority may request additional information or ask for changes to be made to the proposal.

Step 5: Receive a Decision

After the planning authority has reviewed your application, they will make a decision. This decision will be either to grant planning permission or to refuse it.

If it is grant, it will be subject to conditions that you will need to follow when carrying out the propose changes. If it is refuse, you can appeal the decision or make changes to your proposal and reapply.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Planning Permission?

If you make changes to your property without obtaining planning permission, you could face legal action. This could result in fines, enforcement notices, or even demolition orders.

It’s important to note that planning enforcement officers have the power to investigate any changes made to a property, even if they were made before you buy it.

If you’re unsure whether you need it or what the regulations are, it’s always best to seek advice from your local planning authority before making any changes to your property. They can provide guidance on what is permitt and what isn’t, and can help you avoid any legal issues.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re planning on selling your property, any unauthorised changes can impact the value and marketability of the property. Prospective buyers may be put off by the lack of it, and it could also affect their ability to secure a mortgage.

In some cases, it may be possible to apply for retrospective it. This means that you can apply for planning permission after you have made the changes to your property. However, this can be a more complex process, and there is no guarantee that planning permission will be granted.


Obtaining planning permission is an essential part of any property development project. It ensures that any changes made to land or property are in line with local planning policies and regulations, and that development is carry out safely and sustainably.

If you’re considering making any changes to your property, it’s important to check whether you need planning permission and to follow the correct procedures when applying for it. This will help you avoid any legal issues and ensure that your project is carry out in the most efficient and effective way possible.

By following the steps outlined in this blog post and seeking advice from your local planning authority, you can obtain it and carry out your property development project with confidence.