When considering a project which requires planning permission or planning consent, the first place you’d probably look for guidance is either the Government website or the Planning Portal Website and you’d be met with an approximate timescale.
“In most cases, planning applications are decided within 8 weeks. In England, for unusually large or complex applications the time limit is 13 weeks” – https://www.gov.uk/planning-permission-england-wales/after-you-apply
“A decision on an application should be made within 8 weeks. This begins when the Local Planning Authority accepts the application as valid. On major developments this may take 13 weeks, or 10 weeks for applications for Technical Details Consent.” https://www.planningportal.co.uk/planning/planning-applications/consent-types/full-planning-consent
So what should you consider in terms of timings? The basic fact, as mentioned above, is that most applications are subject to eight, or thirteen, week determination periods.
Does this mean you will get a decision at eight or thirteen weeks?
Not at all.
It’s important to understand here that this is not the total timescale from the initial idea of a project to gaining sign off to go ahead. This is simply a guideline from the authorities once they have received an application.
What is not factored in here is the necessary documents that are required to prepare the application itself before submission. Even the most basic applications will require scale plans which are usually done by either an architect or CAD technician who will need the time and information in order to prepare them. Add to that the possibility of potential tree surveys, noise assessments, flood risk assessments and ecological surveys, which are all site dependant, and all require professional assistance to schedule into their workload, complete and submit to you.
You could, depending on the type of project you are obtaining planning for, be required to obtain any of the following reports to support your application.
- Architect/CAD Technician
- Flood Engineer
- Heritage Consultant
- Landscape Architect
- Measured Survey
- Structural Engineer/Surveyor
- Transport Consultant
To give you an example on Preliminary Ecological Appraisal timescales (provided by an Ecologist), will all depend on the time of the year. If you are submitting in the winter and there is a requirement for a bat survey, then it is likely your Local Planning Authority, even if you submit, will not validate the application until receipt of the bat survey. Bat survey season is May until September, (although if you decide to book a bat survey in August, it is highly likely that you will be required to wait until the following May to start the survey) and requiring 2- 3 survey visits to complete. This means you may not get your report until June/July.
In terms of the list above, here at Eldnar Consultancy, we can help you obtain the necessary quotations from our list of preferred suppliers.
Even when you have all the necessary documents and submit your planning application, in the current climate it is common for Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to request an extension of time. In some extreme cases some LPAs are so far behind that they are not even acknowledging or validating applications for nine weeks after submission!
In these extreme cases, by the time it is validated (and backdated to the date received), you will automatically run over due to the requirement for a twenty-one-day consultation period. Add in, if you have objections, that you may end up going through a planning committee which has set (generally monthly) dates. In terms of timings with the LPA alone it is easy to see how immediately things could take longer than you think.
Therefore, if you are planning a project, big or small, within the next twelve months (or even beyond this) we would strongly advise people to start pursuing consents early.
Because the benefits of having enough time for the process, will ultimately be less stressful for you. It will give you the valuable time to prepare the planning submission, give you time to co-ordinate all the relevant documents needed and get it through planning in advance of your start.
A much better solution than rushing the process.
So, at last, you now have planning consent!
However, there will normally be conditions attached to the consent. Whilst there have been general attempts to reduce pre-commencement conditions over the last couple of years, some conditions still need information to be submitted and approved to complete the consent. Don’t overlook your planning conditions – they are just as important as the rest of the consent (see link to an article here).
As you can see from the above, it’s not just about the 8-week timescale to achieve planning consent. It’s a much longer process and should be carried out well in advance in order that you can begin work on your project on the date you want to. Also, by planning your project in advance, it will allow you to book tradesmen and contractors in plenty of time, which can be advantageous.
The vast majority (there are some exceptions) of planning approvals only require you to commence within three years from obtaining consent so, why not get your consent ready now and be in a position to start when you are ready, for example, next year? Here at Eldnar Consultancy, we can guide you through the process well in advance in order to make obtaining planning as stress free as possible.
Why not contact us to discuss your planning project?