How to apply for planning permission

Key information
  • The average cost of a planning application is £2,000
  • Architects and planning consultants can give you a better chance of success
  • Any revisions you make will lead to more costs

Understanding planning permission is a crucial part of any building project. But getting to grips with all the required documentation and how much it’s going to cost can be a finicky process.

In this guide we’ll explain everything you need to know to make a successful planning permission application and get your project off the ground.

Do I need planning permission?

Do I need planning permission

Before you bury yourself in research, it’s worth checking if you actually need planning permission in the first place. 

The planning portal is a useful tool here. They have extensive guides that fill in the gaps about planning permission for home improvements, as well as for commercial and residential developments. 

Once you’re clear you need planning permission, you can turn your attention to assembling the paperwork you need to get your project across the line. 

What do I need to apply?

Location plan

All planning permission applications need a set of accompanying documents in order to be registered. You can find an exact list of what you'll need by contacting your relevant Local Planning Authority (LPA), but at a minimum you'll need:

  • The completed 1APP application form, which you can get from your LPA
  • A location plan showing the current site and its surroundings, and a site or block plan that details your proposed development
  • An ownership certificate for the property
  • A design and access statement

If you’re applying by post rather than online, you’ll need to include at least three copies of each document, although some planning authorities may ask for more.

Your LPA may also specify additional documents depending on your project and where you’re building. If so, these should be specified on the planning authority’s website.

How much does it all cost?

Cost of planning permission

In addition to the documentation, your planning application will also have to include the correct planning fees. The exact amount you’ll need to pay differs depending on where you are in the UK and what permissions you’re applying for. The planning fee to build a new single dwelling is currently £462 in England and Wales, and slightly less in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

But keep in mind that the cost of producing all the required plans and surveys is often more than the planning fees. £2,000 is a realistic minimum to set aside for architect and planning consultant fees, although this can vary across a wide range depending on your project’s complexity. Remember also that any revisions or appeals you may have to make will incur more costs.

Do I need to hire an architect?

Not necessarily. If you know what you’re doing you can produce your own plans using CAD software, meaning you can avoid paying for an architect.

However, it’s important to remember there’s a reason architects and planning consultants charge what they do. Their expert eye can head off problem areas in your proposal that might otherwise lead to its rejection, or costly issues later in the build.

How long will the application process take?


You should receive a decision from your LPA within 8 weeks of submission. Approval for more complex proposals can take longer, although you can file an appeal if you don’t have a decision after 13 weeks.

The LPA will grant planning permission based on your project’s development plan, its infrastructure needs, and how it will impact the surrounding area and environment. They'll also consult members of the public likely to be affected, although objections from neighbours won’t necessarily result in your application being rejected.

Addland makes it easy to find, research, buy and sell land. Start your land journey today. 

Published: 26 April 2021
Last updated: 13 May 2021

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Frequently asked questions about how to apply for planning permission.

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