Business Advice – Planning and Building Regulations – Key Facts
Planning permission; the key to unlocking so many business dreams but can be a headache for many when they don’t involve their local planning departments early enough in the process.
Every local authority will have a Local Plan or Local Development Framework that will have been built around new businesses, jobs, housing, sustainability, regeneration and the local infrastructure. This is why, although there are national planning guidelines, each local authority will have slightly different problems, to take into consideration in the plans for their local area.
Essentially, when you understand that a planner’s role is not to make your life difficult but to balance the economic, environmental and social impact of any developments it can help you to see the wider picture.
When you might need to apply
If you are planning to convert, extend or make structural alterations to an existing building; construct a new building or materially change the use of a building then you will need to liaise with planning.
If you have a listed building and are planning on making any changes then you will need to liaise with planning.
Types of Planning Application
There are two main types of planning application:-
A pre-planning application involves having an informal conversation with your local planning department at your district council either on the phone, by email or even at the site. It’s a chance to discuss the feasibility of your ideas before you enter into any large costs. It’s also an opportunity to verify the list of local requirements that you’ll need to adhere to / comply with in your full application.
Full planning permission – which requires you to submit all fees and documentation through the online planning portal. The type of things a local authority will take into account when assessing the application include; how your development will impact on the local area in terms of traffic or noise; the siting and layout of the building(s) and how this fits with the environment; access and provision of utilities to the site; the views of relevant organisations and individuals in relation to your application. Straightforward cases usually take around 8 weeks for a decision to be made, but more complex applications can take up to 13 weeks.
What do I need to include in my planning application?
As a minimum, you will need to include:-
- A fully completed application form
- Two plans; one of the site location which will show access arrangements to the site and the surrounding area and the other which will include elements such as drainage; water and waste and a detailed plan of the building.
- An owner’s certificate stating the ownership of the property
- Certificate A applies where the applicant is the sole owner of the site
- Certificate B applies where the applicant is not the sole owner of the site – this includes if the other owner is a partner or spouse
- Certificate C applies where the applicant is not the sole owner of the site – but where some of the other owners are not known
- Certificate D applies where the applicant is not the sole owner of the site – and where none of the other owners are known
- An Agriculture Holdings Certificate (if not incorporated into the owner’s certificate).
- Design and access statement which explains the thinking behind the planning application. For example, how the proposed development is suitable for the site and its setting and that it can be adequately accessed by users/customers.
- Application fee.
What if you want to let out your home for holidays?
Letting out your home for holidays does not currently require planning permission as there is no change of use for your property. You should though check your deeds to ensure that there are no covenants or clauses that might prevent you from leasing your property.
If you have a mortgage on your property you will also need to check that your lender allows this and that your home insurance covers this.
What if you want to start a self-catering business?
If you are starting up a self-catering holiday let business from scratch, then the likelihood is that you will either be: –
- Converting an existing building – in which case you will need to apply for ‘change of use’.
- Erecting a permanent structure on land such as a Lodge or a Cabin, in which case you will need planning permission.
- Erecting a temporary structure such as a Shepherds Hut or Yurt.
- You may still need to apply for ‘change of use’ for the land and, if you are unable to evidence that these structures are indeed temporary (not used for more than 28 days per year and not connected to utilities), then you will likely need full planning permission for these types of accommodation.
Camping and caravan sites:
To set up a campsite or caravan park you’ll need to think about whether you need planning permission and a site license. We’ve tried to simplify the roles as much as possible for you but for full guidance on all planning related queries please see:
If you own a piece of land and wish to use this as a caravan or campsite for a maximum 28 days per year (this has been increased to 56 days until the end of 2021) you do not need to apply for planning permission.
If your site is open for longer than 28 days, then you will need to apply for planning permission.
As part of the planning process, your local authority may place guidelines on:-
- The layout of the site (including positioning of tents/caravans)
- The number of tents and caravans allowed at any one time
- The toilet and washing facilities that should be provided
If you require a camping license, then you will have to have planning permission in place before you can apply.
You don’t need a campsite license if any of the following criteria apply:
- The site is used for tents on fewer than 42 days in a row or less than 60 days across the year.
- Or – the site is more than 5 acres and is limited to maximum 3 caravans for a maximum 28 days per year
- You are a member of an organisation such as the Scouts and have an exemption certificate
- The site is in use by seasonal workers, travelling showmen, builders or forestry workers
- Your site is approved by an approved organisation with its own camping exemption certificate such as the Caravan and Camping Club or Freedom Camping Club. You can find a list of all clubs with exemption certificates here www.gov.uk/guidance/camping-and-caravanning-site-exemption-certificates-know-the-rules-and-how-to-apply
- Caravan and camping licenses can be purchased through your local authority.
The Government’s online service offering free guidance on all aspects of planning
Your Local Authority
Information and advice on whether you need planning permission is available from the Planning Department of your local authority.