Outline Planning Application? Why bother?

You may have heard of an Outline Planning Application, but what does this mean? What is it for? Why would you use one?

Outline Planning Permission Croft Architecture

An outline planning application is a planning submission undertaken with some Reserved Matters which are identified for submission at a later date.

Why Would I Choose an Outline Planning Application Over a Full Planning Application?

An outline planning application is useful where the details of the development are not yet known. It is often used to test the principle of a type of development where there is some uncertainty in the requirements, or likelihood of approval, without going to the cost and expense of a full planning application. A typical case might be to obtain outline planning approval for residential use on land, which can then be sold to a developer who would want to work up their own designs.

Our post on how much is planning permission would help you to ascertain the planning fees for your project for a full or outline planning application.

The details of the development proposals can be worked up (within 3 years) following a successful outline planning application, and thereafter submitted as a reserved matters application(s). Items which can be reserved for consideration at a later date are:

a)      Access

Access refers to the site access, the routes and circulation around the site. Often thought of as the vehicular access to the site, which must be safe to other road users and pedestrians, it will also include considerations of access routes to, from and around the site by bicycles, pedestrians, and people with other access needs such as push chair users, wheelchair users, or ambulant persons.

b)      Appearance

The appearance will relate to the overall impression that a building, series of buildings or place makes. Considerations here are the external built form, of a development, the materiality including colour and texture, lighting and decoration.

c)       Landscaping

The detailed landscape design will include various access considerations. It will also include hard landscaping designs such as boundary walls and fences, gates and paving, water features. Soft landscaping designs are also considered, which will include planting schemes for trees and shrubs, grassing of areas, formation of earth banks, terraces and gardens etc.

d)      Layout

Considerations of layout are the arrangement of the various elements of the proposals, and the spaces between. Typically considerations are the arrangement of buildings within the site, such as the relationship between two houses.

Also considered are the type of uses on a site and the arrangement between different uses. This might be noise generated by a manufacturing process which is in close proximity to housing for example.

The same considerations will apply to the relationship between different types of property which border the site and their uses within significant proximity to each other.

e)      Scale

Considerations of scale relate to the context of the proposed development in relation to the area. Typically this would relate to the height, width and depth of the development proposed, and the amount of unit types thereafter proposed within the scheme.

If all matters to an outline planning application were to be reserved, it would be the principle of the development alone that would be considered.

Until recently there was a requirement to supply additional information with your outline planning application about the layout and scale of the development even though these were to be reserved matters. However, in line with the government's plans to streamline the planning process, this additional  information for layout and scale is no longer a requirement for an outline planning application where these matters are reserved.

What is Required by an Outline Planning Application?

The minimum required information for the submission of a planning application is as follows:

  • The completed outline planning application forms.
  • The correct planning fee: (refer to our fees guide here).
  • Ownership Certificates identifying the legal owner of the property.
  • Agricultural Holdings Certificate identifying if the site includes an agricultural holding.
  • Part 1 Notice to the owners of the site if the applicant is not the owner.
  • A location plan at 1:1250 or 1:2500
  • A dimensioned site plan at 1:500 with
    • The species, position, and canopy spread of all trees within 12 metres of any proposed building works.
    • The extent and type of hard surfacing.
    • Boundary treatment including walls and fencing where proposed.
  • Drawings at 1:50 or 1:100 to include:
    • All existing and proposed elevations.
    • Section drawings through buildings.
    • Section drawings of site levels existing and proposed.
    • Topographical survey of site (measured survey with levels).
  • A Design Access Statement where it is a requirement of the type of application.

The Local Planning Authority will have their local or optional requirements in addition to the above. It is always best to discuss their requirements before submission, otherwise a request for further information will delay registration of your application.

Outline Planning Application or Full Planning Application : Which to choose?

Where it is known that a proposal will have a good prospect of success in planning, and the brief is largely defined, then it is most likely better to submit a full planning application than an outline planning application.

For all other cases it is worth considering how an outline planning application may help to achieve your objectives. Take a practical view here, and discuss this with your Architect or planning agent,  as often it can be just as easy to apply for Full Planning approval as it can to submit an Outline Planning Application.

If you need assistance in forming your planning strategy, we'll be happy to discuss your specific situation and advise you about the possibilities.

Have you submitted an Outline Planning Application before? 

What was your experience of this?

Are you considering which application would best suit your needs?

We'd love you to share your thoughts or comments with us below...


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