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Outline Planning Permission & Application

establishing the general principles of development.

What is outline planning permission?

Outline planning permission establishes the general principles (use, scale and nature) of development.

An outline planning application can be submitted to determine whether a piece of land is suitable to build new dwellings.

This type of application has fewer details than a full planning application making it cheaper to produce. It can be used strategically at an early stage to seek key principles.


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Can you build with outline planning permission?

Outline planning permission establishes only a few key aspects of the development, such as the principle and use. A Reserved Matters Application is also needed. This is submitted to the Local Planning Authority to provide the remaining information required under a full planning application.

Outline planning permission will be granted subject to conditions and will be subject to the approval of Reserved Matters. These, along with other relevant pre-commencement condition are required to be approved prior to any work commencing on site.

How long does outline planning permission last?

Outline planning permission usually lasts for three years from the date of approval Some Local Authorities may stipulate a reduced timeframe if deemed necessary. A Reserved Matters application needs to be submitted within this period, which when granted, extends the approval for a further 2 years.


What is outline planning permission with all matters reserved?

This is often described as an ‘application with just a red line boundary’ and keeps all matters such as access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale ‘reserved’ for future approval.

Submitting an ‘application with all matters reserved’ is a relatively cheap and quick way of obtaining approval. However, it should be considered whether this form of application gives applicants the best chance of success. It’s important that the right approval is applied for.

Professional advice should be sought if you are considering applying for outline planning permission.


How much does it cost to submit a planning application for outline planning permission?

The cost of an outline planning permission application is dependant upon the size of the application site. This is unlike full applications, where the fees are based on the scale of development. Such applications are charged on a rate per 0.1 hectares.

Applications can be more expensive than those for full planning in some cases. For example, for 1 dwelling sitting on a plot of 0.2 hectares, it is likely to be twice the price to submit for outline rather than for full approval.


Can I apply for outline planning permission?

Anyone can apply for outline planning permission. However, depending on the nature of the proposals, we would advise seeking expert advice from a professional RTPI Chartered Town Planning Consultant. This reduces the risk of refusal. Outline planning applications are published on the Local Planning Authority website. Neighbours and consultees are also notified about the application.

Submitting for permission without understanding and justifying the key issues can potentially lead to problems that could have easily been avoided.

In the first instance it may, therefore, be worth considering a pre-planning application advice submission to the Council.


How long does outline planning permission take?

The timescales for outline planning permission are similar to that for full applications. Most minor applications are usually determined within 8 weeks from validation, with major developments taking up to 13 weeks.

Usually drawings are required to obtain outline planning permission. These depend upon the nature of the outline planning application, especially if all matters are reserved. If all matters are reserved then generally, only a location plan will be required. If only some matters are reserved, such as scale or layout, then other drawings, for example a site plan, floor plans or elevations may be required.

For outline planning permission drawings we can assist your existing Architect or design team and advise of the likely requirements and issues. We can also provide drawing & design services on request. Please contact us today to discuss your requirements.


Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

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