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Planning permission is the approval you need from the government or local council before you undertake construction, expansion or demolition. You must get planning permission before you start any of these types of projects. Keep reading to find out how and when to apply for planning permission, and what might prevent you from doing so.

When Should I Apply for Planning Permission?

You should apply for planning permission well before your project starts. Remember that your application needs to be approved before you can begin. It is sensible to get your application in as soon as you have a clear plan.

Once you have submitted your application it should be processed within eight weeks. This means you should have a decision by eight weeks, however, consider that the decision may not be positive. Make sure you leave plenty of time to adjust and resubmit your plans.

What Do I Need Planning Permission For?

In the UK, planning permission is needed if you are:

  • Building something new
  • You changing the use of a building
  • Making a major change to a building; like an extension on your home

In Northern Ireland, you will need to apply for planning permission if you are:

  • Adding to or extending a flat
  • Converting a house into flats
  • Dividing your home into two or more separate dwellings (for example, you are creating a self contained flat in your home)
  • Building a house in your garden
  • Using an outhouse or caravan as a separate residence for someone else
  • Building something new that isn’t allowed under your current planning permission

How Do I Apply for Planning Permission?

There are a few options when it comes to making a planning permission application. You can make the application yourself, or employ an agent to help you.

Planning permission applications can be a complex and time consuming process. However, with plenty of research and planning it is manageable on your own. It is also important to remember that a fee is required in order to have your plans considered by the planning office.


Fees Related to Planning Permission

The fee required to have your proposal considered will vary depending on your local planning office. The fee will be dictated by the complexity of your planning application. Something simple, like adding a small outhouse, will be cheaper than a large extension to your home and will still add value to your house.

Before your Planning application is even considered your local planning office will be able to confirm the details of your fee. This means you will have a chance to decide whether or not you are going to move forward with the application.


Why Is Planning Permission Important?

Planning permission is essential if you are hoping to make changes to your property. Applying for planning permission means that the work undertaken will be in line with local and national regulations. It is incredibly important that you apply for planning permission well before you plan to start a project. Starting a project without planning permission could be a huge waste of time and money if your plans are not approved.


What Happens If I Don’t Get Planning Permission?

If you do not get planning permission before you start your project you can be served with an enforcement notice. This means you will be ordered to undo all of the changes that you have made to your property. It is illegal to ignore an enforcement notice and the council or Department for Infrastructure may take legal action against you.

However, you may be able to apply for retrospective planning permission. This means you submit a planning permission request for work that has already been completed or started.


What Else Should I Consider?

If you’re planning on undertaking building work on your property there are several things you might like to consider other than your planning permission.

  • Make sure that the work you plan to do does not leave your property vulnerable to crime i.e. burglary.
  • Let neighbours know that you plan to carry out building works on your property
  • Make sure that your design is in keeping with the surrounding properties
  • Check that there aren’t any covenants or restrictions in the title of your property