Outline Planning Permission & Applications

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

What is outline planning permission?

Outline planning permission (or outline approval) establishes the general principles (for example use, scale and nature) of development.

For example, an outline planning application could be submitted to determine whether a piece of land is suitable to build a new dwelling or houses.

This type of application generally has fewer details than a full planning application which can help to reduce the costs and risks of producing such an application and can be used strategically and at an early stage, to seek key principles.


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Can you build with outline planning permission?

As outline planning permission only establishes a few key aspects of the development, such as the principle and use, a Reserved Matters application will need to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority to effectively provide the remaining information that would be required under a full planning application.

An outline planning permission will be granted subject to conditions, like any other application, and will be subject to the approval of Reserved Matters. The Reserved Matters, as well as any other relevant pre-commencement condition, will be required to be approved prior to the approval being commenced on site.

How long does outline planning permission last?

Outline planning permission usually lasts for three years, from the date of approval, although 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?

Outline planning permission with all matters reserved 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.

While submitting an application with all matters reserved can be seen as a cheap and quick way of obtaining approval, it should also be considered whether this form of application will give applicants the best chance of success as well as what actually approval is granted 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. Unlike full applications, where the fees are based on the scale of development, such applications are charged on a rate per 0.1 hectares.

As such, applying for outline planning permission can actually be more expensive than applying 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?

Generally, anyone can apply for outline planning permission however depending upon the nature of the proposals we would advise seeking expert advice from a professional RTPI Chartered Town Planning Consultant to reduce the risk of refusal. As an outline planning application is published on the Local Planning Authority website and the relevant neighbours and consultees are notified about the application, submitting for outline planning 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 – please click here for further information.


Outline planning permission application timescales

The timescales for outline planning permission are similar to that for full applications, with most minor applications meant to be determined within 8 weeks from validation, with major developments within 13 weeks.

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

We can assist generally in two ways in relation to outline planning permission drawings. Firstly we can assist your existing Architect or design team and advise of the likely requirements and issues or secondly we can provide a drawing or design service for the relevant drawings.

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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