Permission in Principle – A cost-effective route to planning permission?

On the 1st June 2018, the Town and Country Planning (Permission in Principle) (Amendment) Order 2017 came into force, which provides a new route for obtaining planning permission via an application for small housing-led developments. It was described as one of the most significant changes to the planning system since outline permission was introduced 60 years ago. However, whilst being available for over a year now, it would appear that take-up of this route has been slow so far.

The Permission in Principle (PiP) 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 first stage (the PiP stage) essentially establishes whether a site is suitable in-principle with the second stage assessing the detailed development (the ‘technical details consent’). In essence, it is similar to the outline and reserved matters regime.

The PiP route via a direct application is only available for housing-led minor developments (i.e. between 1 and 9 dwellings; less than 1,000sqm of floorspace; and on a site of less than 1ha). This route is not available for householder development, major development, Habitats development and EIA development.

So, what are the benefits of this route? Principally, it can be a cheaper route to establishing whether a site is suitable for development or not by reducing the amount of technical information required (and thus the financial investment required at an early stage). The second benefit is speed as the Council has 5 weeks from receiving a valid application to determine the application.

The scope of PiP is limited to location, land use and amount of development and a decision to grant PiP to a site must be made in accordance with the relevant development plan for the area unless there are material considerations which indicate otherwise. If PiP is granted, the default duration of that permission is 3 years. Subsequent applications for technical details consent must be determined within the duration of the permission granted. There is also a right of appeal.

If you feel that this route could benefit you, please get in touch with Joe Seymour on 01242 895008 to see how we can assist you.