Guidance

Permission in principle

This guidance provides information about permission in principle - a new planning consent route.

Introduction to permission in principle

The permission in principle consent route is an alternative way of obtaining planning permission for housing-led development which separates the consideration of matters of principle for proposed development from the technical detail of the development. The permission in principle consent route has 2 stages: the first stage (or permission in principle stage) establishes whether a site is suitable in-principle and the second (‘technical details consent’) stage is when the detailed development proposals are assessed.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Is housing the only type of development that can be given a grant of permission in principle?

Non-residential development may also be given permission in principle providing housing occupies the majority of the floorspace of the overall scheme. Non-housing development should be compatible with the proposed residential development, and may include, for example, a small proportion of retail, office space or community uses.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

How can can local planning authorities grant permission in principle?

Local planning authorities can grant permission in principle to a site upon receipt of a valid application or by entering a site in Part 2 of its brownfield land register which will trigger a grant of permission in principle for that land providing the statutory requirements set out in Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended) and the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 are met.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Following a grant of permission in principle, the site must receive a grant of technical details consent before development can proceed. The granting of technical details consent has the effect of granting planning permission for the development. Other statutory requirements may apply at this stage such as those relating to protected species or listed buildings. Technical details consent can be obtained following submission of a valid application to the local planning authority. An application for technical details consent must be in accordance with the permission in principle that is specified by the applicant.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Are there any types of development that local planning authorities can not grant permission in principle to?

Depending on the route, certain types of development are excluded from a grant of permission in principle. These exclusions are summarised in the table and set out in more detail under Article 5B of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 and regulations 4 and 14 of the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017.

Type of development or land Route to permission in principle: Following an application Route to permission in principle: Entering a site in Part 2 of a brownfield land register
Householder development X X
Major development X
Development on land not defined as previously developed X
Development consisting of the winning and working of minerals X X
Environmental Impact Assessment development X X
Habitats development X X

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Can local planning authorities grant permission in principle to sites that have been subject to a Habitats assessment?

Permission in principle must not be granted for development which is habitats development. Habitats development means development which is likely to have a significant effect on a qualifying European site or a European offshore marine site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), and is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site. Where following a habitats assessment the local planning authority is satisfied (including taking account of mitigation measures) that the site is not then habitats development, and subject to compliance with other statutory requirements regarding the permission in principle process, it can grant permission in principle.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

If the local planning authority identifies at the technical details stage that the development proposal should be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), the grant of permission in principle remains valid. The specific requirements set out in the EIA Regulations and other legislation relating to EIA development must then be met before technical details consent can be granted.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Can permission in principle be applied for on a part of a larger site?

An applicant may apply for permission in principle on part of a larger site where the proposal is not major development or another form of exempt development as set out under Article 5B of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017. Local planning authorities should consider whether the cumulative environmental impact of 2 or more adjoining sites proposed for a grant of permission in principle amount to EIA or Habitats development.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

How can permission in principle be granted through registers of brownfield land?

This paragraph has been removed.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Do site allocations in existing local or neighbourhood plans have a grant of permission in principle?

Site allocations in existing local or neighbourhood plans do not have a grant of permission in principle; however, planning applications should be decided in accordance with those site allocations unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Can permission in principle be granted on an area-wide basis?

This paragraph has been removed.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Do local planning authorities have to consider all sites in their brownfield land registers for permission in principle?

Local planning authorities should regularly review the suitability of all relevant sites on their brownfield land registers for a grant of permission in principle, taking into account relevant policies in the development plan and other material considerations. There may be sites which already have an extant planning permission for residential development or where other routes to planning permission eg outline planning permission, are more appropriate.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Decision-making

How must a decision on whether to grant permission in principle to a site be made?

A decision on whether to grant permission in principle to a site following a valid application or by entering it on Part 2 of a brownfield land register must be made in accordance with relevant policies in the development plan unless there are material considerations, such as those in the National Planning Policy Framework and national guidance, which indicate otherwise.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

What matters are within the scope of a decision on whether to grant permission in principle?

The scope of permission in principle is limited to location, land use and amount of development. Issues relevant to these ‘in principle’ matters should be considered at the permission in principle stage. Other matters should be considered at the technical details consent stage. In addition, local authorities cannot list the information they require for applications for permission in principle in the same way they can for applications for planning permission.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Should discussions take place between local planning authorities and applicants before permission in principle is proposed for sites?

Local planning authorities and applicants should refer to policies in the National Planning Policy Framework on pre-application engagement and front loading. A proportionate approach should be taken as there will also be an opportunity to have mutually beneficial pre-application discussions before the submission of a technical details consent application.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

Who decides whether to grant permission in principle?

The local planning authority decides whether to grant permission in principle either upon receipt of a valid application or by entering a site into Part 2 of its brownfield land register which will trigger the grant of permission in principle.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Where permission in principle is granted by application, the default duration of that permission is 3 years. Where permission in principle is granted through allocation on a brownfield land register, the default duration of that permission is 5 years. If the local planning authority considers it appropriate on planning grounds they may shorten or extend these periods, but should clearly give their justification for doing so. Local planning authorities should indicate on the face of the decision notice or the entry on the brownfield land register whether the duration period is different from the default duration. Applications for technical details consent must be determined within the duration of the permission granted.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

An application for technical details consent must be decided in accordance with the terms of the permission in principle granted for the site. The requirements that apply to decisions on other types of application for planning permission also apply, including that the decision must be made in accordance with relevant policies in the development plan unless there are material considerations, such as those in the National Planning Policy Framework and national guidance, which indicate otherwise.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Where permission in principle is granted granted by entering the site on Part 2 of a brownfield land register what information must be included on the register?

Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 sets out what information a local planning authority is required to publish about a site on its brownfield land register. This includes information about the location of the site, the type of development and an indication of the amount of development the site has permission in principle for. The amount of development must be expressed as a range, indicating the minimum and maximum net number of dwellings (ie taking in to account any existing dwellings on the site) which are, in principle, permitted. Where non-residential development is proposed, local planning authorities are required to provide a description of the type of development (eg by indicating the use classes of the buildings or land) and the scale of development permitted.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Where permission in principle is granted following an application what information must be included on the decision notice?

Local planning authorities must specify the location of the site, the type of development and provide an indication of the amount of development the site has permission in principle for. The amount of residential development must be expressed as a range, indicating the minimum and maximum net number of dwellings (ie taking in to account any existing dwellings on the site) which are, in principle, permitted. Where non-residential development is granted permission in principle, local planning authorities are required to provide a description of the type of development (eg by indicating the use classes of the buildings or land) and the scale of development permitted. The decision notice must also meet the requirements of Article 5T of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended) including that the notice should provide full reasons where permission in principle is refused.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

What are the time periods for determining an application for permission in principle?

Once a valid application for permission in principle has been received, the local planning authority should make a decision on the proposal as quickly as possible, and in any event within the statutory time limit unless a longer period has been agreed in writing with the applicant. The statutory time limit is 5 weeks, counting from the day after the local authority has received a valid application.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

Once a valid application for technical details consent has been received, the local planning authority should make a decision on the proposal as quickly as possible, and in any event within the statutory time limit unless a longer period is agreed in writing with the applicant. The statutory time limits are 10 weeks for major development and 5 weeks for other forms of development (unless an application is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment in which case a 16 week limit applies).

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

The application for technical details consent must specify the permission in principle to which the technical details consent relates. Where there is more than one grant of permission in principle for the site, the local planning authority should decide an application for technical details consent in accordance with the grant of permission in principle that has been specified by the applicant on the technical details consent application form relevant to their local authority area.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Separate technical details consent applications for different phases of development cannot be made. The technical details consent application must specify all matters necessary to enable full planning permission to be granted for the site which has a grant of permission in principle.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Can planning conditions be attached to a grant of permission in principle?

It is not possible for conditions to be attached to a grant of permission in principle and its terms may only include the site location, the type of development and amount of development. Local planning authorities can inform applicants about what they expect to see at the technical details consent stage.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

It is possible for the local planning authority to attach planning conditions to a technical details consent providing they meet existing requirements around the use of conditions.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Local planning authorities may agree planning obligations at the technical details consent stage where the statutory tests have been met. Planning obligations cannot be secured at the permission in principle stage. Local planning authorities can inform applicants that planning obligations may be needed at the technical details consent stage.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

When is Community Infrastructure Levy liability triggered?

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) may apply to development consented through the permission in principle route if technical details consent has been granted. Charges will become due from the date that a chargeable development is commenced.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Can a decision to refuse permission in principle be appealed?

There is no right of appeal where a local planning authority decides not to enter a site in Part 2 of a brownfield land register and trigger the grant of permission in principle. A person with an interest in a site has the option of submitting a planning application to the local planning authority. There is a right of appeal where a local planning authority refuses permission in principle upon receipt of a valid application. The procedures in place are set out in Article 5V of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended).

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Can a non-material change be made to a permission in principle?

Local planning authorities can consider non-material changes to a grant of permission in principle upon receipt of an application under section 96A(4) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Authorities must give the applicant notice in writing of their decision on the application within 28 days of receipt of the application or such longer period as may be agreed in writing between the applicant and the authority.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

An application for technical details consent may be appealed on grounds of non-determination, refusal or against any condition imposed. The procedures in place for appeals against other types of planning application apply.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

If the technical details consent application is refused, the permission in principle is unaffected and (subject to the powers of local planning authorities to decline to consider repeat applications) the applicant has the option to submit a new technical details consent application. A technical details consent application cannot be made by an applicant if the permission in principle has expired.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Can a grant of permission in principle be revoked?

Under section 97 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, local planning authorities have powers to modify or revoke a grant of permission in principle. Compensation may be payable and such powers should only be exercised in exceptional circumstances, and where there is no other alternative course of action. The removal of a site from a brownfield land register does not revoke permission in principle previously granted to that land.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

In the same way that local planning authorities can use the powers to modify or revoke a grant of planning permission, they can modify or revoke a grant of technical details consent.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

Can the Secretary of State call-in a decision on whether to grant a site permission in principle?

There is no power for the Secretary of State to call-in a decision on whether to enter a site in Part 2 of a brownfield land register and trigger the grant of permission in principle. Under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Secretary of State has powers to call-in applications for permission in principle. The existing policy on calling-in applications will apply to such applications.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the Secretary of State has powers to call-in applications for technical details consent. The existing policy on calling-in applications will apply to such applications.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Consultation and notification

What consultation must be undertaken before sites can be granted permission in principle?

The consultation that must be undertaken before sites can be granted permission in principle is set out in the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 for suitable sites on brownfield registers, and in the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended) when permission in principle is sought by application. In both situations, local planning authorities must consult bodies identified in Schedule 4 to the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 if in their opinion the land within the site falls within the prescribed category, and take in to account any responses received. There are also requirements for consulting county planning authorities and the Mayor of London. Local planning authorities must also consult any body that they would have been required to consult in relation to an application for planning permission, for example under relevant consultation or safeguarding directions. Where consultation is required, the local planning authority should provide the statutory body with any relevant information it holds about the site.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

What are the notification requirements before sites can be granted permission in principle?

The notification that must be undertaken before sites can be granted permission in principle are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 for sites on brownfield land registers, including specific requirements for notifying infrastructure managers when a site is within 10 metres of relevant railway land, and the circumstances where parish councils and neighbourhood forums should be consulted.

The notification requirements when permission in principle is sought by application, are similar and are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended).

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Before granting technical details consent, the local planning authority must consult bodies identified in Schedule 4 to the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 where they have notified the local planning authority, before it granted permission in principle to the site, that they wish to be consulted on the technical details consent application. Local planning authorities must also consult any body (not on Schedule 4) that they would have been required to consult in relation to an application for planning permission, for example under relevant consultation or safeguarding directions.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

How long do statutory consultees have to respond to a consultation where an application for a grant of permission in principle is made?

Where statutory consultation is required, statutory consultees are under a duty to respond within 14 days unless they agree a longer period in writing with the local planning authority.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

How long do statutory consultees have to respond to a consultation where a grant of permission in principle is proposed for a site entered on a brownfield land register?

On the first publication of the brownfield land register, where multiple sites may be proposed for a grant of permission in principle by entering them onto Part 2 of the register, statutory consultees should provide a substantive response to a proposal within 42 days. Thereafter, for future publications of the brownfield register, where statutory consultation is required in relation to a site proposed for a grant of permission in principle, statutory consultees should respond within 21 days of being notified of the proposal.

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Non-statutory consultees should respond within the period specified by the local planning authority.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

This paragraph as been removed.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Can statutory bodies respond to consultations by directing local planning authorities to standing advice?

Statutory consultees can respond to consultations on permission in principle proposals and technical details consent applications by directing local authorities towards standing advice (providing that advice is less than 2 years old).

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

For monitoring purposes, statutory consultees should treat applications for permission in principle and technical details consent as part of their reporting duties as set out in Article 23 of the Development Management Procedure Order 2015.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Publicity

What publicity will take place to let bodies with an interest in the site and the wider public know that a site is proposed for a grant of permission in principle?

Regulation 6 of the Town and Country Planning (Brownfield Land Register) Regulations 2017 and Article 5G of the Town and Country (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended) set out statutory requirements for publicising sites entered on brownfield land registers and where a valid application has been received. This requires a site notice and an online notice. It will be for local planning authorities to decide if they take further steps to inform communities and other interested parties beyond the statutory requirements.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

How will landowners be informed that permission in principle is proposed on their sites?

Local planning authorities must publicise their intention to grant sites permission in principle with a site notice and an online notice. It is also good practice for applicants or bodies with an interest in developing the land to keep landowners informed about their intentions as they would normally do when proposing sites for consideration in local authority assessments of land availability. Where an application is made for technical details consent, following a grant of permission in principle, the applicant must complete an ownership certificate which confirms that an appropriate notice has been served on landowners.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

What is the time period for making comments where a site is proposed for a grant of permission in principle?

The time period for making comments will be set out in the local planning authority’s publicity notices including the required notices on the site and on the authority’s website. For site notices this will be not less than 21 days for brownfield land register sites and 14 days for applications. For online notices, the same period of 14 days applies to permission in principle made by application or proposed through brownfield land registers. After the publicity period has ended the local planning authority can proceed to determine whether to grant permission in principle to the site. To ensure comments are taken in to account it is important to make comments before the statutory deadline.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Site and online notices are valuable ways of alerting the public about an application and the publicity requirements for technical details consent applications mirrors the approach taken for planning applications. In addition, local planning authorities may decide to take further steps to notify communities and other interested parties about an application for technical details consent. Article 15 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 sets out minimum statutory requirements. There are additional arrangements for applications which may affect the setting of listed buildings which are set out in regulation 5A of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Regulations 1990.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

The time period for making comments will be set out in the local planning authority’s publicity including the required notices on the site and on the authority’s website. This will be not less than 21 days for the site notice and 14 days for the online notice. After the publicity period has ended the local planning authority can proceed to determine whether to grant technical details consent. To ensure comments are taken in to account it is important to make comments before the statutory deadline.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Information

What information sources and tools should local planning authorities use to support decisions on whether to grant permission in principle?

Local planning authorities should draw on relevant existing information sources and tools to support decisions on whether a grant of permission in principle is appropriate. These may include local sources of evidence eg the development plan evidence base, historic environment records or landscape character assessments and external information sources and tools eg advice published by statutory consultees.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Can an applicant or body with an interest in the land proposed for a grant of permission in principle supply further information to support decision-making?

Bodies with an interest in the land proposed for a grant of permission in principle, may volunteer additional information to support decision-making, in particular, to give more certainty about how many dwellings the site is capable of supporting and whether mitigation of likely impacts that may result from development is possible.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

What is required to make a valid application for permission in principle?

The requirements for a valid permission in principle application set out in Article 5D of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended).

The submission of a valid application for permission in principle requires:

(a) a completed application form

(b) a plan which identifies the land to which the application relates, drawn to an identified scale and showing the direction of North

(c) the correct application fee

Additional requirements may apply where compulsory pre-application consultation is required by virtue of section 61W(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

Is the local planning authority required to send an acknowledgement after receiving a permission in principle application?

When the local planning authority receive a valid application for permission in principle it must send the applicant an acknowledgement of the application as set out in Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended).

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

The requirements for a valid technical details consent application are the same as those for an application for full planning permission.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Can local planning authorities inform applicants about what they expect to see at the technical details stage?

When granting permission in principle to a site, local planning authorities can provide information on the relevant entry on the brownfield land register, or on the decision notice where permission in principle is granted following an application, about what they expect the detailed proposals to include at the technical details stage. This information may include where further impact assessment is needed by the applicant or where a particular scheme of mitigation may be required. Applicants are encouraged to take account of this information when preparing a technical details consent application.

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Local planning authorities should take a proportionate approach to any information they request in support of applications for technical details consent, which should be relevant, necessary and material to the application in question. Local planning authorities are encouraged to consider whether this could be achieved by requesting that such information is provided in a single concise statement.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017

Is a fee payable for permission in principle applications?

A fee is payable for a permission in principle applications. Where an applicant has applied for permission in principle the fee is calculated based on the site area of the application. The fee schedule is set out in the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits)(England) Regulations 2012 (as amended).

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Revision date: 15 06 2018

A fee is payable for technical details consent applications and they are treated under the fee regulations as applications for full planning permission. As with full planning applications, where an applicant has applied for technical details consent the fee is calculated by applying the relevant fee category or categories to the proposals in the application. This can include for example looking at the number of dwelling houses to be created and the area of gross floor space to be created. The fee schedule is set out in the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits)(England) Regulations 2012 (as amended).

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Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

The Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) Order 2017 (as amended) requires that local planning authorities must include details in their planning register of any permission in principle granted by application, and by allocation of land in a brownfield land register. They are also required to maintain in the planning register details of applications for technical details consent in their area. The planning register is held at the local planning authority’s offices.

Paragraph: 048 Reference ID: 58-048-20180615

Revision date: 15 06 2018 See previous version

Published 28 July 2017
Last updated 15 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Amended paragraphs 001-005, 010-014, 016-020, 022, 024, 026-031, 033-034, 037-039, 045, 047-048. Added new paragraphs 049-060. Removed paragraphs 007, 009, 035.
  2. First published.