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Planning permission is a crucial aspect of any development project in the UK. It is the legal process that allows you to determine whether your proposed development complies with local and national planning policies. In this guide, we will take you through the planning application process, step by step, to help you understand what is required and what you can expect.

Step 1: Find out if you need planning permission

Before you start the planning application process, you need to determine whether your proposed development requires planning permission. Some minor developments, such as small home extensions, may not require planning permission, while larger developments, such as new buildings or significant changes to existing buildings, will require planning permission. You can find out if you need planning permission by visiting the Planning Portal or contacting your local planning authority.

Step 2: Pre-application advice

Pre-application advice is a service offered by local planning authorities to help applicants understand the planning process and the likely outcome of their application. It can be beneficial to seek pre-application advice before submitting a planning application, particularly for larger or more complex developments. Pre-application advice can help you identify any potential issues early on and avoid delays or refusals later on in the process.

Step 3: Submit your planning application

Once you have determined that you need planning permission and sought pre-application advice, you can submit your planning application. Planning applications can be submitted online via the Planning Portal or by post to your local planning authority. You will need to provide detailed plans and information about your proposed development, including a site plan, elevations, and a design and access statement.

Step 4: Validation and registration

Once your planning application has been submitted, it will be checked by the local planning authority to ensure that it is complete and contains all the necessary information. This process is known as validation. If your application is valid, it will be registered and allocated a reference number. You will receive an acknowledgement letter confirming that your application has been validated and registered.

Step 5: Consultation and publicity

Once your planning application has been validated and registered, it will be subject to consultation and publicity. This means that your local planning authority will consult with relevant statutory consultees, such as the Environment Agency or Highways England, and will publish your application on their website and in the local press. Members of the public will also have the opportunity to comment on your application.

Step 6: Site visit and assessment

After the consultation and publicity period has ended, a planning officer from your local planning authority will visit the site and assess your proposed development. They will consider the design and access statement, the plans and drawings, and any comments received during the consultation period. They will also take into account local and national planning policies and any relevant material considerations.

Step 7: Decision

Once the planning officer has assessed your proposed development, they will make a recommendation to the local planning authority. The decision will be made by the planning committee or a delegated officer, depending on the size and complexity of the development. You will receive a decision notice outlining the decision and any conditions attached to the planning permission.


If your planning application is refused, you have the right to appeal the decision. You can also appeal against any conditions attached to the planning permission. Appeals are made to the Planning Inspectorate, an independent body that reviews planning decisions. The appeal process can be complex, so it is recommended that you seek professional advice before submitting an appeal.


The planning application process can be complex and time-consuming, but it is a necessary part of any development project in the UK. By following the steps outlined in this guide and seeking professional advice where necessary, you can increase your chances of obtaining planning permission for your proposed development.