Planning permission: the fundamental rules
Under planning rules since 2012 there is a “presumption in favour of sustainable development”.
Applications which can be said to meet the below 5 “principles of sustainable development” will be likely to be approved:
- Living within environmental limits
- Ensuring a strong, healthy and just society
- Achieving a sustainable economy
- Promoting good governance
- Using sound science responsibly.
A planning application may be for outline or detailed permission.
An application for outline planning permission seeks to establish whether the scale and nature of a proposed development is acceptable. Fewer details about the proposal are required. Once outline permission is granted, approval of reserved matters must be obtained before work can commence.
An application for a full or detailed planning permission includes all the necessary details to enable the development to proceed once planning permission has been granted.
There is no statutory definition of “planning application” but the phrase “application for planning permission” within the TCPA 1990 is taken to mean an application for permission and not an application for the approval of reserved matters.
Is planning permission needed?
Planning permission is required for the “carrying out of any development on land”.
Development is defined as the “carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under the land or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land”.
Planning permission can either be granted by the local planning authority (LPA) or deemed by a development order such as the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (GPDO 2015).
If planning permission is required from the LPA, a planning application will need to be submitted
Minor commercial applications
(a) an application for planning permission for development of an existing building or part of a building currently in use for any of the purposes falling within Part A of the Schedule to the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987; or
(b) an application for any consent, agreement or approval required by or under a planning permission, development order or local development order in relation to such development,
where such an application does not include a change of use, a change to the number of units in a building or development that is not wholly at ground floor level or that would increase the gross internal area of a building.
Planning application decision
The LPA may:
- grant planning permission unconditionally.
- grant planning permission subject to such conditions as they think fit.
- refuse planning permission.
In making the decision the LPA must have regard to:
- the development plan, so far as is material to the application.
- any local finance considerations, so far as is material to the application.
- any other material considerations.
Planning application refused? Appeals?
Under Section 78 of the TCPA 1990, there is a right of appeal where:
- planning permission has been refused.
- planning permission has been granted, but the LPA has imposed conditions that the applicant considers unacceptable.
- outline planning permission has been granted, but a planning application for the approval of reserved matters has been refused.
- the reserved matters application has been approved, but the LPA has imposed conditions that the applicant considers unacceptable.
- the LPA has refused an approval required by a condition on a planning permission.
- the LPA has granted consent for an approval required by a condition, but has imposed conditions that the applicant considers unacceptable.
- the LPA has not determined the planning application within the statutory time period allowed, which is usually eight weeks from registration of the planning application by the LPA.
- the LPA has refused an approval required under the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (GPDO 2015), a local development order or a neighbourhood development order.
- the LPA has granted an approval required under the GPDO 2015, a local development order or a neighbourhood development order but has imposed conditions that the applicant considers unacceptable.
Planning appeals: types
There are three types of planning appeal:
- Written representations.
- Local inquiries.
Challenges to planning appeal decisions
A challenge to a decision made by a Planning Inspector during the processing of an appeal cannot be challenged in the High Court. Instead, an application for judicial review should be made.
A planning appeal decision can only be challenged on a point of law in the High Court. An application must be made within 6 weeks following the date of the decision letter. If the challenge is successful, the High Court will overturn the decision and return the case to the Planning Inspectorate to reconsider. The general principles of judicial review are applicable to a challenge under section 288 of the TCPA 1990. The claimant must establish that the decision-maker misdirected himself in law or acted irrationally or failed to have regard to relevant considerations or that there was some procedural impropriety.
Breach of planning control
A breach of planning control occurs if:
- development that requires planning permission is carried out without planning permissionp
- planning permission is required for the carrying out of any development of land (Section 57(1) Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990)).
- development of land covers either of the following:
- the carrying out of “building, engineering, mining or other operations” in, on, over or under the land (Section 55(1) TCPA 1990); or
- a material change in the use of any buildings or other land (section 55(1), TCPA 1990).
- a condition or limitation attached to a planning permission is not complied with (Section 171(a) TCPA 1990).