Permission in principle applications for small-scale residential development

A procedure enabling applications for permissions in principle for small-scale residential development is due to apply from 1 June 2018. Here is an overview for local authorities and developers.

23 January 2018

From 1 June 2018, developers will be able to apply for permissions in principle for small-scale residential development. Details of these permissions will be maintained on the brownfield land registers (introduced last year together with local authority-led permissions in principle). Legislation for the procedure was published in December 2017 and guidance is to follow later this year.

What are the headlines?

The idea behind this initiative is to provide a mechanism by which developers can establish certainty about the principle of a proposed development in terms of land use, location and amount of development, without needing to spend the money or resources on making a full planning application. If successful, a developer will need to follow up the permission in principle by making an application for technical details consent, which will include detailed design considerations.

Developers will be able to make applications for permissions in principle for small-scale residential developments of land (i.e. sites with less than 10 houses, buildings with less than 1000 square metres of floor space or sites of less than 1 hectare). It cannot be development that would involve an environmental impact assessment or habitats assessment.

The local authority must determine applications for permission in principle within five weeks. A developer can appeal a refusal of the application. The technical details consent must be obtained within three years of the permission being in force.

The brownfield land register

Currently the brownfield land register forms two parts:

  • Part 1 includes all brownfield sites that are suitable for housing.
  • Part 2 includes sites for which the local authority has effectively allocated permission in principle of its own accord (following prescribed publicity, notification and consultation requirements being met).

From 1 June 2018 Part 2 of the brownfield register will be expanded and contain 3 parts, including details of:

  1. permissions in principle allocated by the local authority
  2. ‘live’ applications for permission in principle
  3. ‘determined’ applications for permission in principle.

Application fees

A fee of £402 per 0.1 hectare of the site area will be payable for any application for permission in principle in accordance with the latest amendments being made to The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2012.

What happens next?

The government has promised it will publish further guidance later this year and will support local authorities with the introduction of this procedure.

For any advice on brownfield development or permissions in principle, please contact Liz Dunn or Laura Fuller.

Key contact

Elizabeth Dunn

Elizabeth Dunn Partner

  • Energy, Power and Utilities
  • Infrastructure
  • Real Estate

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