Timescales – how long will planning take?
A planning application should be decided within 8 week timescale, whereas a more complicated or larger planning application should take 13 weeks, unless as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required and then the period is 16 weeks. This planning application period starts after receiving a valid application including payment of the fee. See also what is a major or minor planning application.
I say should as these timescales are often exceeded due to workload at the local planning authority. A household application would be considered minor and therefore an 8 week period for a decision. This is the same timescale for a new dwelling.
If the application has not been dealt with within these timescales, then you have a right of a appeal to the inspectorate for non-determination. Although in reality working with the officer might be the better option.
If the applicant has not exercised their right to an appeal, and the application remains undetermined after 26 weeks, then the fee paid by the applicant should be refunded under the planning guarantee.
How can I speed up an application?
The simplest way to get the local authority to decide an application is to ensure that is it thorough. By helping the planning officer, you are likely to start off on the right foot.
Working with a good planning consultant is often critical. As is getting an architect to design a good scheme.
Make sure that everything is included, such as floor plans, elevations, measurements, reports and a design & access statement. Your local authority will have a validation checklist. Ensure that as many of the items are ticked off as possible prior to submission. Don’t forget they can’t start work on the application until it is valid and that includes payment of the correct fee.
Despite a standard planning application only taking 8 weeks, with a pre-app there isn’t any timescale – this can take weeks or it could be months. This is one of the reasons why I am not a fan.
Applicants may find it quicker to submit an actual application. This could then be potentially amended or withdrawn should the planning officer express their objection to the scheme presented.
Other planning timescales
Other applications will have statutory timescales unless the applicant and the local authority agrees and extension of time.
A permission in principle application is 5 weeks.
Listed Building Consent should be decided within 8 weeks
Prior Approval is generally 56 days for changes of use, although certain others can be 28 days
Outline planning application – 8, 13 or 16 weeks depending upon the application type
Reserved matters – 8, 13 or 16 weeks depending upon the application type and will mirror the timescale for the outline application
Discharge of conditions should be decided in 8 weeks unless an extension of time is agreed
Non-material amendments should be decided in 28 days
Lawful development certificate is also 8 weeks
Larger Home Extension prior approval, a maximum of 42 days
Page Updated: 20th March 2023