Planning permission is something that a lot of people are unreasonably scared of and there’s no need to be. Of course, some planners can be a little irritating and seem to be sticklers for rules, but the vast majority are pragmatic and want to see conscientious development. They are public servants employed to make sure that inappropriate development doesn’t go ahead, and that’s something that’s worth doing, as any look around a post-war town centre development will tell you.
Talk to Planners
Another myth about planners is that you can’t talk to them, but the opposite is true. They would rather be asked if something is likely to pass if it means they can stop a big argument and possible court action later on. It’s not necessary to have a planning application already on the go before having discussions with planners, and they won’t charge for preliminarily meetings to discuss what you are trying to do.
There are two types of planning application; outline and full. If you know what you’re going to do and already own the property, then you might as well go straight for full planning permission.
Outline planning permission is used when a developer or a private individual needs to get initial approval before investing in complex preliminary works. If the outline application is rejected, then at least time and money hasn’t been wasted on those works. Often outline planning permission is sought before putting a property on the market, to increase its value.
The actual cost of making the typical planning application are not massive, but they are different in almost every case and it’s difficult to give hard and fast prices. If you live in England and Wales, the Government’s planning portal will calculate the charges for making your application. For Scotland and Northern Ireland they have different charges. As an example, an outline planning application to extend an ordinary house in England is likely to cost £135.
However, that’s not the whole picture. There are extra costs in that a planning application has to be accompanied by plans, three copies of them. If you’re a dab hand at technical drawing you might be able to draw up these yourself, but for most people this means employing an architect. Architects usually charge hourly rates so again, no hard and fast cost guidelines can be made here; each job will be different.
If your planning application is rejected, then you have the option to appeal, but it’s worth talking to planning staff first to discover more about the reasons for rejection. It could be cheaper in the long run to modify your application and re-apply rather than go to appeal.
Worth it in the Long Run
It’s not such an onerous task, applying for planning permission, but the biggest cost of all may be to ignore it. If you go ahead with changes to a property that are subsequently found to break the rules then the planning authorities have the power to force you to tear it all down and put it back the way it was, and that could break the bank!