Q I own an acre of land which had planning permission in the past and I now want to get a different permission. What are the steps I need to go through to achieve this?
A The best place to start is to know exactly where you are.
To establish this, look in the council’s local plan (council website or offices) and find the land. See what policies apply. Is it inside or outside an area where the council normally gives permission? Are there any other special polices that apply to the area? Next, check the planning history. Find out when the previous permission was granted and what was said about it at the time. Is the permission still valid or has the time limit to start work now passed?
Circumstances can change over time and you can’t assume permission would definitely be given again. Maybe at this stage sound out a planning officer. If it all looks positive, decide whether an outline or full application is appropriate. The former establishes the principle of development and is cheaper because you don’t need full drawings. The latter establishes both principle and detail so, if approved, you’d know exactly what you could build.
Get drawings and application documentation prepared. You can try consulting a planning officer again at this stage to double check you’re still on track, as far as the council is concerned. Requirements for planning applications are far more stringent than they used to be. Make sure you understand what information the council will demand in your case, for example, tree survey, ecological report or financial contributions towards infrastructure. Subject to this, make your application and stay closely in touch with the planning officer while it goes through.
Depending on your experience and available time, it’s quite likely you’ll need professional help somewhere along the line. I know all applicants want to get on with making their planning applications but a bit of homework and careful preparation at the outset usually pays dividends.