Planning Permission

AuthorWilliam Webster

Chapter 6

Planning Permission


6.1 This chapter is concerned with the procedure relating to applications for planning permission and their consideration by the local planning authority (LPA).1It deals with the law associated with grants of planning permission, not least in relation to scope, meaning and duration of grants. It also includes discussion of the application of the development plan and considers the importance of housing land supply and its impact on decision-taking under the National Planning Policy Framework 2012 (NPPF) issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on 27/3/2012 and soon to be revised. Planning conditions, planning obligations, the revocation or modification

1In England, the application will usually be made: (a) in the case of land in Greater London, to the relevant borough council (unless it is an application of potential strategic importance, in which case the Mayor of London may direct that he is to be the LPA for the purposes of determining the application (TCPA 1990, ss 2A–2F, added by the Greater London Authority Act 2007)); (b) in metropolitan county areas, to the metropolitan district council; (c) in the case of unitary councils in non-metropolitan county areas, to the relevant unitary council; (d) in National Parks, to the National Park authority for the area of the Park; and (e) in other cases, to the relevant district council as district planning authority. The Broads Authority is the sole district planning authority for its area. See Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, art 11, regarding general provisions relating to applications and to which bodies they must be made. In Wales, it will be: (f) the relevant National Park authority; or (g) the county council or county borough council. County matters in England are now confined to applications in relation to minerals, waste disposal and operational development of land partly within and partly outside National Parks – for a list of county matters, see TCPA 1990, Sch 1, para 1, and Town and Country Planning (Prescription of County Matters) (England) Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/1033), reg 2. Certain applications are made directly to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS): (i) applications for development consent for nationally significant infrastructure; (ii) applications for urgent Crown development; and (iii) applications for major development under TCPA 1990, s 62A, where the LPA has been designated by the Secretary of State and the applicant has chosen to submit an application to PINS. The Department of Energy and Climate Change administers the provisions of the Electricity Act 1989 for developers seeking consents from the Secretary of State.

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of planning permissions and environmental impact assessments (EIAs) are considered in the following chapters.


6.2 Applications for planning permission and their handling are governed by a combination of Part III of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) (see s 62) and subordinate legislation consisting of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 (DMPO)2(which came into force on 15/4/2015) and the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Wales) Order 2012.3There is also a wealth of guidance to be found in the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) which was issued on 6/3/2014,4and in the revised versions of the four procedural guides on: (a) planning appeals; (b) called-in planning applications;
(c) enforcement notice appeals; and (d) lawful development certificate appeals, published by the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on 23 March 2016.


6.3 The NPPF5and the NPPG encourage pre-application engagement between applicants and the LPA, statutory and non-statutory consultees, elected members and the local community. Where the application is going to be large and/or complex, applicants and LPAs may sometimes enter into a planning performance agreement (PPA) with a view to agreeing timescales, actions and resources for handling the application. Such agreements can be a useful focus for pre-application discussions about the issues which will need to be addressed.

6.4 Pre-application consultation is compulsory in the case of a development involving the installation of more than two wind turbines or where the hub height of any turbine exceeds 15 metres.6

2SI 2015/595.

3SI 2012/801.

4Available at

5NPPF, paras 188–195.

6DMPO, arts 3 and 4.

Planning Permission 125


6.5 Any person may apply for planning permission7whether he owns the land or not, although the owner must be notified of any application affecting his land (and this includes any tenants of agricultural holdings on such land).8

Applications are made on a standard application form and must contain the prescribed information.9The application must be accompanied10by: (a) a certificate of ownership in which the applicant certifies that he has satisfied the requirement in relation to the notification of owners;11(b) a Design and Access Statement (if required);12(c) a statement as to pre-application consultation (if

7Applications may be made for: (a) full planning permission; (b) outline planning permission

(which means planning permission for the erection of a building, subject to a condition requiring the subsequent approval of the LPA with respect to one or more of the following reserved matters, namely access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale; (c) reserved matters application (these are defined in DMPO, art 2); an LPA cannot refuse final permission on other grounds which they could have taken into account on the outline application; any such application must be within the ambit of the outline planning permission but whether or not a departure is so significant as to require a fresh application for permission is a question of fact and degree (see R v Hammersmith and Fulham LBC ex parte GLC (1985) 51 P & CR 120, CA); such applications normally have to be made within three years from the date when outline planning permission was granted (see TCPA 1990, s 92); (d) for the discharge or modification of a planning condition (whereby application may be made for planning permission for the development of land without complying with the conditions subject to which a previous planning permission was granted); (e) for non-material changes to an existing planning permission; (f) lawful development certificates; (g) prior approval for some permitted development rights; (h) listed building consent (see Listed Building Act 1990, s 9); and (i) non-planning consents (namely, consents that may have to be obtained alongside or after, and separate from, planning permission) such as advertisement consent, consent required under a Tree Preservation Order and hazardous substances consent.

8DMPO, art 13 deals with the giving of notice to an owner or tenant of the land (additional steps need to be taken in the case of minerals applications).

9See NPPG and DMPO, art 7.

10DMPO, art 11(2), which sets out what has to be lodged with an LPA in the case of applications:
(a) for outline planning permission (art 5); (b) for approval of reserved matters (art 6); and (c) those applications mentioned in art 7 (i.e. mining operations).

11DMPO, art 14. The notice requirement is mandatory so that once an application has been submitted without due notice to an owner, the requisite notice to the owner could not be fulfilled (R (Pridmore) v Salisbury DC [2005] 1 P & CR 32, where there had been deliberate non-compliance and the resulting planning permission had been quashed).

12DMPO, art 9, which sets out the requirements for a Design and Access Statement where it is needed, namely, in cases of major development (as defined in DMPO, art 2) or development within a World Heritage Site, a conservation area or in the case of applications for listed building consent, although a Design and Access Statement will not be required in those cases mentioned in art 9(4) (as where an application involves a material change in the use of land or buildings). See Design and Access Statements in NPPG at Paragraphs: 029 Reference ID: 14-029-20140306 through to 033 Reference ID: 14-033-20140306.

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required);13(d) any particulars or evidence required by the LPA;14and (e) the appropriate fee.15Slightly different requirements apply in the case of certain applications (i.e. for listed building consent, mining operations, minerals development or hazardous substances consent).

6.6 Decisions on an application can sometimes be made by the Secretary of State who may decide to ‘call in’ an application, in which case the applicant or the LPA has a right to be heard at a public inquiry or other hearing.16The discretion will only usually be exercised in circumstances where the application involves issues of more than local significance.17

13DMPO, art 4.

14DMPO, art 11(2)(e) (3).

15DMPO, art 11(2)(f).

16R (Save Britain’s Heritage) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2017]

EWHC 3059 (Admin), where it was held that the Secretary of State is under no duty to give reasons for a decision not to call in a planning application under TCPA 1990, s 77. This is because a call-in decision is a very different type of decision to a decision by an LPA to grant planning permission. A call-in decision is, in essence, a procedural decision by the Secretary of State on whether to intervene in the planning process; it does not result in the grant of any substantive rights...

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