Tag: government

Planning Permission

Navigating the UK Planning Application Process: A Comprehensive Guide 

The UK planning application process plays a vital role in shaping our built environment, ensuring that development projects adhere to regulations and meet the needs of local communities. Whether you’re a homeowner, developer, or local authority, understanding this process is essential. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the UK planning application process, outlining key stages, considerations, and tips for success. 

Pre-application Stage –

Before submitting a planning application, it is advisable to engage in pre-application discussions with the relevant local planning authority (LPA). This stage helps clarify expectations, identify potential challenges, and gather feedback. Early engagement can save time, improve the quality of your application, and foster a positive relationship with the LPA. 

Submission of the Planning Application –

Once you have completed the necessary preparations, it’s time to submit your planning application to the LPA. The application will typically include detailed plans, drawings, design statements, and any additional supporting documents required. It is crucial to ensure that your application is complete, accurate, and addresses all relevant planning policies and guidelines. 

Validation and Registration –

Upon receiving your application, the LPA will review it for validation. This process confirms that all necessary information and fees are provided. Missing or incomplete documents can result in delays, so thoroughness is key. Once validated, your application will be registered, and a unique reference number will be assigned. 

Public Consultation and Notification –

Most planning applications require public consultation, where neighbours, community groups, and other stakeholders could review and provide feedback on the proposed development. The LPA will display site notices, publish notices in local newspapers, and, in some cases, notify adjacent property owners directly. Feedback received during this stage will be considered in the decision-making process. 

Evaluation and Decision Making –

The LPA will assess your application based on relevant planning policies, national guidance, and local development plans. They will consider factors such as design, impact on the local area, sustainability, and compliance with building regulations. The timeframe for decision-making varies, but authorities strive to provide decisions within eight weeks for most applications. In complex cases or larger developments, the process may take longer. 

Planning Conditions and Negotiation –

If planning permission is granted, it may be subject to specific conditions that must be met before construction can commence. These conditions could include requirements for affordable housing, landscaping, or drainage. You may have the opportunity to negotiate conditions with the LPA to ensure they are practical and achievable while meeting their objectives. 

Appeals and Judicial Review –

In the event of a refused planning application or unfavourable conditions, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeal process involves submitting an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, an independent body responsible for reviewing planning decisions. In some cases, you may also consider a judicial review if you believe the decision-making process was flawed or unlawful. 

Tips for Success: 

  1. Engage early with the LPA and seek professional advice when preparing your application. 
  1. Familiarize yourself with local planning policies and guidelines to ensure compliance. 
  1. Communicate and consult with local communities and stakeholders to address concerns and gather support. 
  1. Provide a comprehensive and well-presented application with clear plans and supporting documentation. 
  1. Be responsive to feedback and consider making amendments to address concerns raised. 
  1. Maintain a professional and cooperative approach when interacting with the LPA throughout the process. 
  1. If necessary, consider engaging planning consultants or professionals with expertise in navigating the planning system. 

Conclusion –

The UK planning application process is a complex yet crucial procedure that governs development and land use across the country. By understanding the stages, requirements, and considerations involved, applicants can navigate this process with greater efficiency and success. Engaging early, conducting thorough research, and seeking professional guidance can significantly improve the chances of obtaining planning permission and delivering projects that benefit both the individual and the local community. 

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Architecture & Building

Councils in Kent, punished for not hitting their housebuilding targets

Medway, Canterbury, Tonbridge & Malling, Sevenoaks, and Gravesham have all been sanctioned for hitting less than 75% of their housing targets, over the past few years. If you live in these areas, you may want to propose a new housing project, because they’re more likely to be given the go-ahead. Or, the planning inspector will be more generous with their decision, so they can meet the target.  

Housebuilding targets –  

Between 2018 and 2021 Ashford and Maidstone’s councils are at the top of the housebuilding list. They both exceeded the target and build many homes, for example:  

Maidstone – Target: 2,279, Built: 3,878, Percent: 170% 

Ashford – Target: 2,292, Built: 2,715, Percent: 118% 

And the councils at the bottom of the list that was way under the target, and are now facing repercussions are:  

Medway – Target: 4,332, Built: 2,895, Percent: 67% 

Canterbury – Target: 2,323, Built: 1,509, Percent: 65% 

Tonbridge & Malling – Target: 2,189, Built: 1,369, Percent: 63% 

Sevenoaks – Target: 1,828, Built: 1,130, Percent: 62% 

Gravesham – Target: 1,154, Built: 661, Percent: 57% 

What happens when you don’t hit the targets?  

In addition, by not hitting the target, the councils’ local plans, that control the supply of housing are now considered out of date.

Sanctions will remain until the government publishes results showing the councils are back to 75% of its target.  

What is a council local plan? 

Local plans are used to help decide on planning applications and other planning-related decisions. They are the local guide to what can be built where. Shaping infrastructure investments, and determining the future pattern of development.  

How a couple of the councils have reacted –  

Canterbury –  

The canterbury council chief has said, “it cannot be right to punish councils that are working hard to do what the government asks”. He states that the reason they didn’t meet their target is because of the impact of covid-19. 

 There was also an issue with the water quality at Stodmarsh, which prevented the council from granting permission on sites.  

The chief is begging the government not to punish the council for the factors affecting the houses being built at are “out of our control”. 

Gravesham –  

In addition, the government has announced that Gravesham hasn’t met the housing target for the past 3 years. And that they should grant planning permission to new housing unless there is a major reason not to.  

The leader of the Gravesham council has spoken out and said “we find ourselves in an increasingly difficult position, as a result of the government’s housing delivery targets”.  

“While we can grant permission for developments, we do not have the powers to force developers to deliver sites with planning permission. The government figures are based on completed new homes and not on those with planning permission in place”. 

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