There are a number of different routes to gaining planning permission for a new build house. This article explains the different options that are available to help you decide which route is right for your particular project and circumstances.

Featured image above – self-build design by Stephen, architect from Southwark. Click here to see more and shortlist them for your home project.


Purchase a plot with planning permission

In most cases, private individuals (who are building a house to live in themselves), will usually purchase a plot of land that already has some kind of planning permission. There are broadly two types of planning permission that may be attached to a plot of land:

  • Full planning permission
  • Outline planning permission / planning permission in principle.

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If you have a plot with full planning permission

This will obviously be the most straightforward and simple route. However, there are a couple of reasons why you might need to submit a further application:

  • To discharge planning conditions

Discharging planning conditions involves a formal application where certain details related to an approved application are assessed and approved. The application can include just one or all of the planning conditions, although it makes sense to discharge all in one application to save on fees and administration.

  • To make minor ‘non-material’ amendments.

A non-material amendment application can be made for minor alterations that don’t have a significant impact on the design, surrounding environment or neighbours. There is no statutory definition of what makes an amendment ‘material’ or non-material’, and will be a judgement of the local planning office, based on your particular site and design. However, a non-material amendment is likely to be very small and uncontentious in relation to any previous discussions or conditions attached to the application.

  • To make minor ‘material’ amendments

Again, there is no statutory definition of a minor material amendment. A definition proposed by White Young Green Planning and Design was, “A minor material amendment is one whose scale and nature results in a development which is not substantially different from the one which has been approved”. According to guidance on many local councils websites, Government “agree” with this definition.

  • If major changes of the design are required a new full application is likely to be required. However, at least you have a base from which to work from. You know that a housing development of a certain size and location was acceptable. However, it’s worth noting that planning policy and guidance may have changed since the original application. 


If you have a plot with outline planning permission or permission in principle

Firstly, there is a subtle difference between the two, which we have written about in the following article: What’s the difference between outline planning and permission in principle?

Both outline planning permission and permission in principle have two distinct stages. The first establishes whether the proposal in general terms will be acceptable for the site. If you have purchased a plot of land with outline planning permission or permission in principle, it will usually be at this stage.

The second stage, where all of the technical details are assessed, would need to be submitted and approved before building work can proceed.


Can I build a house on agricultural land?

The are some planning rules that include special conditions for agricultural land, but in general farms are covered by the same planning regulations as other types of property. You will need to get planning permission if you want to change the use of the land, or if you want to build a house on the land.


How to get planning approval for a new build house

Using a good architect will give you the best chance of gaining planning approval and their input and prior knowledge can be invaluable in terms of navigating the planning system and provide the best outcome in relation to your brief.


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Emily  Design for Me

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