May 18, 2017

How Your Local Planning Office will Make a Decision on your Application

Granting or refusing a planning application is dependent on a number of factors. What are the main points that will be considered?

From an extension to your family home to a major industrial construction project, we are all faced with the task of submitting planning applications to the local authority from time to time.

The planning office fulfils an important role in ensuring your construction project will not adversely affect your neighbours, the environment or the local community. Here we take a look at five major considerations that will dictate whether or not your application is approved.

Local planning policies

Your Local Plan sets out the overall vision and framework for development in the area, and is the starting point for decision making in individual proposals. Consult your local authority to get a clear view of the Local Plan at the outset, and ensure that every aspect of your planning application has this at the forefront of its consideration.

Character of the local area

You will have to work hard to make sure your proposed development is in-keeping with the local area in every respect. For example, if you live in a designated conservation area, you will be expected to pay close attention to materials and construction methods.

However, local area considerations go beyond simple design, and also extend to the intended purpose of your construction project. If you are looking to set up a commercial enterprise in a residential area, have your arguments at the ready to reassure planners that it will not be to the detriment of your neighbours.

Environmental impact

Will your construction necessitate the removal of trees, hedgerows or bushes? If so, you have a better chance of success if you incorporate landscaping plans to replace them with as many, or ideally more, than you are removing.

Also consider other potential environmental aspects – for example, where old outbuildings are being removed or modified, you will almost certainly be required to arrange a bat survey. Be on the front foot, and have this completed as part of your application.


The planning office will only approve your plans if they are convinced that there is sufficient infrastructure in place. This means they will look at the demands your project will place on vehicular access, water and electricity supply, drainage and so on.

If you are seeking to build five new houses at the end of a narrow, unmade road, be prepared for a negative decision, unless you have a plan in place for managing the extra traffic that will be created.

Previous decisions

Planning authorities aim for a consistent approach, which is one of the reasons they consider each application so carefully. If one application is approved, it can “open the floodgates” to similar applications, but by the same logic, if one is rejected then a precedent is likewise set.

It is worth checking the planning records for past applications in the area to see what has been accepted and what has not, to give yourself the best idea of your chances for success.

The public good

The planning office might seem like a needlessly bureaucratic hoop, but at the end of the day, it is there to protect us all and to ensure that any development is ultimately a positive step for the local community. Submit your application with the above points in mind, and you have a far greater chance of success.

Here at Green Structural Engineering we work with you to help with your planning applications, contact us to chat with an expert.