Planning permission in principle

Planning permission in principle

“An alternative route for obtaining planning permission was introduced earlier this year for minor housing led developments”, says Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

The Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) (Amendment) Order 2017 introduced provisions that came into force in June this year that allow applicants to apply for Permission in Principle (PiP) for developments of between 1 and 9 dwellings; of less than 1,000 square metres; and on a site of 1 hectare or less. Non-residential development may also be given PiP providing that housing occupies the majority of the floorspace of the overall scheme and that the non-housing development will be compatible with the proposed residential development. This could include, for example, a small proportion of retail, office space or community uses.  PiP cannot, however, be given for major development, householder development or habitats development.

The PiP route for obtaining a planning consent has two stages that separate the consideration of matters of the principle of a development from the technical details of a scheme.

The first stage requires an application for PiP to establish whether a site is suitable in-principle for development. The scope of this application is restricted to location, land use and the amount of development with the formal application requirements limited to an application form, a location plan identifying the land, the correct fee, and any relevant supporting information. The target determination period is five weeks, unlike eight weeks for an outline or full planning application.  Any PiP consent must state the minimum and maximum number of dwellings that are allowed.

The second stage is an application for Technical Details Consent (TDC), which is when the detailed development proposals must be submitted and approved before development can commence. The requirements here are the same as an application for full planning permission.  Like a full application, the target determination period for TDC is eight weeks.

“PiP does not provide a short cut for obtaining planning permission and it will not reduce costs when a development is taken all the way to the TDC stage.  PiP does, however, give applicants the opportunity to reduce their exposure to costs to establish the principle of developing a site.  Furthermore, once PiP has been obtained, the approach will provide applicants with more certainty before committing to dealing with the costlier technical matters for obtaining planning permission”, concludes Dinnis.

For further information on any rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis on 01884 214052 or at

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