Planning permission transforms the value of land and gives you the ability to create development opportunities. It can be a long, painful and risky business fraught with hassle and uncertainty — but the potential gain usually massively outweighs the pain.
Whether you want to stand out in a crowded local housing market or add value to your home without breaking the bank, obtaining planning permission for specific improvements could be your route to a successful sale.
Just as studies show that tidying and decorating your home in a clean, neutral fashion helps buyers to see its short-term potential, planning permission opens their minds to long-term development possibilities, helping them to visualise how they can add value and grow the property.
Many sellers report an increase in sale price after obtaining planning permission. While it doesn't always involve big money – even a 10% increase in value, though achievable, might be optimistic – that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.
There are several UK-wide trends to guide the start of your planning permission journey. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Choosing the right improvement involves understanding what buyers want, which isn’t as hard as it at sounds: you were once in their shoes too. With some local research and a few conversations with estate agents and buyers, in person or online, you can quickly put together some ideas for your property.
Get planning permission
Once you’ve got the plans in mind, it’s time to check whether you need planning permission. The government's Planning Portal has an easy-to-use interactive guide to help you work out whether you need permission, what applying involves and how to apply. If you’re unsure of anything in your application, you can always consult your local planning authority in advance.
How to Approach a Planning Application
Planning has its own rules but they are particularly unpredictable, open to interpretation and capable of being bent quite dramatically! Unlike building regulations, planning regulations are not hard and fast and they differ from one area of the country to the next. This is because planning involves local politics.
Planning decision making requires the interpretation of national and local planning policies by individual planning officers and by committees of elected councillors. The scope for inconsistencies between planners even in one authority is quite high — between different authorities it is huge.
So if you’re going to get involved in building a house or even extending and refurbishing one, a flexible and pragmatic approach to your planning application is going to be helpful.
Planning Application Time Frame
From the submission of your planning application to a decision being made should take no longer than eight weeks. The planners are under real pressure to meet that timescale. The Government has come up with a clever wheeze of effectively linking a council’s performance to the financing of planning departments. This means that people’s jobs are at stake if they don’t deal with things quickly.
Speed, of course, does not encourage negotiations during the life of an application; in the past planners may have been happy to look at amended plans to overcome problems but they are much less likely to do so now.
Planning officers will unhesitatingly refuse a proposal rather than seek to negotiate. So it is very important that you track your application through the system to avoid any nasty surprises. Don’t allow your planning application to be refused, withdraw it and resubmit having overcome the problems they identify. The second application will not require a fee.
Why planning permission can benefit landowners
Same as selling a house that has planning permission accepted for an unused space, having planning permission allows buyers to be more flexible in what they can do with the land. For the privilege, developers are willing to pay extra and the value of the land increases.
Many farmland owners underestimate just how much difference having planning permission can make to a land sale. There are many factors involved in how much planning permission increases the value but can add up to 100 times the agricultural land value. In the majority of cases, the initial expense of a planning permission application is worth fulfilling.
Selling land without planning permission
If your land currently does not have any planning permission then it’s worthwhile to consider the option of getting some, especially if the land is within close vicinity or adjacent to a residential area. Such plots of land are extremely valuable for developers.
That’s not to say that planning permission is always necessary. However, if the landowner wants to sell without getting planning permission, they will likely face questions asking if an application has been attempted and why it hasn’t got permission.
If you have a planning project that you would like to discuss please do contact us for a free no obligation initial discussion .