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What is the difference between Outline and Full Planning Permission?

Fri 12 Apr 2019

What is the difference between Outline Planning Permission and Full Planning Permission?

When obtaining planning permission there are over 20 types of planning approval.  Two types which we consider further below are Outline and Full Planning.

When residential, commercial, retail or community developments are proposed, the planning regulations allow for an outline planning application to determine whether the principle of development is acceptable.

Outline planning applications must include sufficient detail for the local planning authority to evaluate the proposals including the scale and nature of the proposed development.

This enables a landowner to get the assurance that development will be acceptable  in principle without the cost of full detailed plans for the buildings proposed or full technical calculations for roads and drainage. It is helpful for the local planning authority if any potential technical constraints are addressed in principle.  These may typically include issues such as ecology, landscape impacts, trees and flood risk/drainage, for which specialist reports may be needed.

Once outline permission is granted this means that the local planning authority have granted planning permission and established the principle of development. Only the details can then be considered, known as Reserved Matters.

This gives some local planning decision makers difficulties with the outline process due to the level of uncertainty in the final details which they feel remains after they have granted the outline planning permission.

Following outline permission a reserved matter application must be submitted to get approval for the details of the approved scheme.  This can be phased on a large development site.

The alternative is for a Full planning application to be submitted.  This includes full details of access, layout of the site, siting of buildings with full plans and elevations of all buildings.  Highway and drainage details are also required.  This is always required for applications within a Conservation Area.

If the principle of development is unlikely to be an issue or the applicant proposes to carry out the development it is more cost effective and saves time overall to submit a full planning application in the first instance.  However, when a landowner will be selling the site it is more difficult to justify the expense of a Full Application.

For advice on all aspects of Outline and Full Planning Permission, get in touch with us on 01788 551111.  

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