Permission to Build: Your Ultimate Guide to the UK Planning Permission Stages

Are you planning a new build, house extension, renovation, or conversion? If so, you’ll need to navigate the complex world of planning permission stages in the UK. In this ultimate guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about planning permission, from the various stages and types to the often-confusing rules and regulations.

As an Architectural Designer in Sussex, we provide Architectural Designer services to help you gain planning permission and building regulations for new build houses, house extensions, renovations, loft conversions, garage conversions, barn conversions, and driveways.

What are the stages of planning permission?

The planning permission stages in the UK can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Pre-application advice
  2. Submission of the planning application
  3. Validation and consultation
  4. Assessment and decision
  5. Post-decision process (appeals, amendments, or conditions)

What are the 4 types of planning permission?

The four types of planning permission are:

  1. Full Planning Permission: Grants permission for a specific development, subject to conditions and restrictions.
  2. Outline Planning Permission: Grants permission in principle, but further details (called ‘reserved matters’) must be submitted and approved before development can begin.
  3. Lawful Development Certificate: Confirms that a proposed development is lawful and does not require planning permission.
  4. Permitted Development Rights: Allows certain types of development without the need for planning permission, subject to specific criteria and limitations.

How long does it take for planning permission to be accepted?

The planning permission time scale varies depending on the type and complexity of the application. In general, local planning authorities aim to make a decision on planning applications within eight weeks for most developments and within 13 weeks for large or complex projects.

What are the levels of planning in the UK?

There are three levels of planning in the UK:

  1. National: Set by the central government, with strategic policies and guidance for development across the country.
  2. Regional: Previously set by regional planning bodies, but now integrated into the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
  3. Local: Established by local planning authorities, who create Local Plans to guide development within their areas.

What are the steps in the planning process?

The planning application process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Research: Understand the relevant planning policies and regulations that apply to your proposed development.
  2. Consultation: Seek pre-application advice from the local planning authority and consult with neighbours and other stakeholders.
  3. Preparation: Prepare the necessary architectural design drawings, supporting documents, and application forms.
  4. Submission: Submit the planning application to the local planning authority, along with the required fees.
  5. Consultation and assessment: The planning authority will consult with relevant parties and assess the application against local and national planning policies.
  6. Decision: The planning authority will either grant permission (with or without conditions) or refuse the application.
  7. Post-decision: If permission is granted, comply with any conditions and start the development within the planning permission time limit.


Planning Permission Time Frame

One of the most frequently asked questions about planning permission is how long it takes to be accepted. Planning permission time frames may vary, but on average, you can expect to wait eight weeks for a decision on a planning application. However, larger or more complex projects may take up to 13 weeks. It’s essential to factor this into your project timeline to ensure everything goes smoothly.

The Next Step After Planning Permission

After your planning permission has been granted, you can begin working on your project. This might involve house extensions, loft conversions, garage conversions, or even barn conversions. It’s essential to work closely with your Architectural Designer during this stage to ensure your project adheres to building regulations and planning permission guidelines.

The 4 Year Rule in Planning Permission

The 4-year rule in planning permission refers to a time limit for enforcing action against unauthorised development. If a structure has been built or a change of use has occurred without planning permission and four years have passed without any enforcement action, it becomes immune from enforcement. This means the development can no longer be subject to enforcement action by the local planning authority.

The 50 Rule for Planning Permission

The 50 rule, also known as the “50% rule,” refers to the maximum allowable increase in a building’s volume through permitted development rights. This means that without needing to apply for planning permission, you can extend or alter your property up to 50% of its original size. However, it’s essential to consult with an Architectural Designer to ensure you stay within these limits and meet all other requirements.

What Happens After Submitting a Planning Application?

After submitting your planning application, it will be reviewed by the local planning authority. During this time, the application may be subject to public consultation, allowing neighbours and interested parties to comment on the proposal. The planning authority will consider these comments, along with other factors such as the project’s impact on the local environment, before making a decision. If your application is approved, you can proceed with your project, adhering to any conditions attached to the permission.

Related Topics

At Shear Architectural Design, we’re here to help guide you through the planning permission process and ensure your project meets all necessary requirements. Our experienced team of Architectural Designers can assist with all aspects of your project, from the initial concept to the final construction. Contact us today to discuss your project and find out how we can help make your dream home a reality.

Remember, when it comes to your building project, an informed decision is the best decision.



As always, thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended to provide a general understanding of the subject matter. It is not intended to provide specific advice for any specific circumstances. Always consult with a professional before starting any construction work.


About Shear Architectural Design

Shear Architectural Design is an award winning Architectural Design firm based in the UK, specialising in residential and commercial projects. Our experienced team is dedicated to creating innovative, sustainable, and functional spaces that meet the unique needs of our clients. With a focus on collaboration and customer satisfaction, we work closely with you to bring your vision to life, from the initial concept to the final construction. To learn more about our services or to discuss your project, please contact us today.

Working with an Architectural Designer can help you to achieve your goals and ensure that your project is a success. Shear Architectural Design is a reliable and experienced company that can help you with your home renovation, building project or garden project, in Sussex.


As part of our comprehensive approach, we offer services to design a house plan tailored to your unique requirements.

Our Architectural Design process involves the creation of detailed Architectural Design drawings, which meticulously capture every aspect of your dream home. We also navigate the complexities of building regulation plans, ensuring that our designs adhere to both building regulations and planning permission guidelines.

By incorporating innovative Architectural ideas and working closely with you to draw a house design that reflects your vision, we strive to make the planning and design process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Our commitment to excellence ensures that you receive a bespoke, high-quality living space that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Our Services

At Shear Architectural Design, we offer a range of services to help you bring your vision to life:

Related Services:

  • Architectural Design Consultation
  • Planning Applications & Appeals
  • Permitted Development Advice
  • 3D Visualisation
  • Building Regulations Applications


We assist with gaining planning permission and building regulations, ensuring that your project meets all necessary requirements.

Contact us today, on 01273 740642 to learn more about how we can help you create the home of your dreams!

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