The Ultimate Guide To Planning Permission | Toolstation

The Ultimate Guide To Planning Permission

Planning permission is one of the most important aspects when it comes to home improvement, but it can also be one of the most confusing.

We’ve taken a deep dive into the many areas of planning permission to bring you the costs involved, the different types, plus the areas where you’re most likely to get approved or declined, by speaking to local councils across the UK.

What is Planning Permission

To put it simply, planning permission is the process of getting approval to carry out a certain piece of building work. This approval will be granted or refused by a local planning authority as part of a local council, subject to certain conditions and criteria.

It’s a household’s responsibility for seeking planning permission, and it must be approved before any work begins. While not all home improvement projects require planning permission, it’s best to check online with the local planning authority before starting any new work.

If you need to send a request for a new project, make sure to send this over with plenty of time in advance. Most local authorities receive hundreds, if not thousands, of planning permission applications in the space of a year, with an average application taking between 8-13 weeks to receive a decision.

The city of Harrogate received the most planning applications throughout 2022 with 53 applications for every thousand inhabitants. This is then followed by Maidstone with 40, and Lancaster with 25.

City Total
per 1,000
Harrogate Borough Council 4,747 53
Maidstone Borough Council 2,623 40
Lancaster City Council 1,199 25
Bedford Borough Council 2,546 24
Salford City Council 1,729 24
Christchurch Borough Council 934 22
Brighton and Hove City Council 2,842 20
Bradford Metropolitan Council 6,050 20
Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council 2,830 20
Poole Borough Council 2,343 16
City of Edinburgh 5,151 11
Bournemouth Borough Council 1,723 11
Exeter City 1,145 10
Eastbourne Council 1,029 9
Derby City Council 2,141 8

Most Common Planning Permission Types

There are many different types of planning permission, the three most common are:

  • Householder Planning Permission

    These applications allow the modification or enlargement of a single house, but not a flat. This includes any works within the boundary line or garden of the property. This type of planning permission is often used for home extensions, conservatories, loft conversions, garages, and exterior fences.

  • Outline Planning Permission

    This type of application doesn’t give consent for development to begin. Instead, it’s used to gain an understanding from a local authority as to whether the proposed project can take place without having to go through the whole planning permission process. Because of this, not all the specific details are required as would be the case in a full planning permission request.

    If approved, a Reserved Matters application is made which must include all the missing details from the outline application.

  • Full Planning Permission

    This type of application is required when the project is not covered by a householder application. It’s mostly used for new buildings of any kind, any works relating to a flat, flat conversions, demolition, and the rebuilding of a structure.

How Much Does Planning Permission Cost

The cost of submitting planning applications varies across the countries of the UK, with England being the cheapest and Northern Ireland being the most expensive on average.

Householder Planning Permission

England - £206 Scotland£- £300 Wales - £230 N. Ireland - £291

Outline Planning Permission

England - £426 Scotland - £600 Wales - £460 N. Ireland - £433

Full Planning Permission

England - £462 Scotland - £600 Wales - £460 N. Ireland - £868

For a full planning permission application in England, it will cost £462, while Householder Planning permission costs £206. In Wales, this slightly increases to £230 for a Householder Planning application, and £460 for Full Planning Permission.

These fees increase again for both Scotland and Northern Ireland, with Full Planning applications costing £600 in Scotland and £868 in Northern Ireland. Householder Planning applications are also pricier in Scotland at £300, and £291 in Northern Ireland.

It’s worth noting that you must pay the fees beforehand, so if your application is declined it will still cost you. But the government allows you to make the recommended alterations and re-submit for free, as long as it is done within a 12-month period.

If an application has been granted but is subject to certain conditions, a new request will have to be filed to approve the details that were asked for. Amending and re-submitting an application could however involve further fees.

Application Results Across the UK

Our research shows the city of Lincoln takes the top spot for approving planning permission applications, with 96% of all applications approved across the city. Edinburgh closely sits behind with 95%, while Salford, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, and Derby all follow with 94% of applications approved.

At the other end of the scale, Swansea takes the prime position for declined planning permission applications, with 22% getting declined. This is followed by Luton with 21%, and Burnley with 18%.

Although Swansea tops out for most declined applications, it does grant the highest number of appeals. 100% of planning permission appeals over the past three years have been granted in this city. This is followed by Nottingham with 47%, and Stoke-on-Trent with 46%.

There are many reasons as to why a planning permission request may be denied. Some of the topmost reasons are:

  • The work involves a listed property
  • The property is located in a protected area
  • The building would overlook another property of a neighbour
  • The building would block or restrict the daylight of a neighbour
  • The work would impact local trees

It is important to note, denied applications can be re-submitted with the required amends free of charge, if the resubmission falls within the 12-month period.

Planning Permission in the Capital

Taking a closer look at the capital, the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is the best neighbourhood for obtaining planning permission – with 89% of all applications receiving approval. The Boroughs of Islington and Haringey take second position with 86%, and Barnet comes third with 83%.

Filling out the top five are the Boroughs of Lewisham and Sutton with 81% and 80% of all planning permission applications being approved respectively.

London Borough Rank Approved %
Hammersmith & Fulham 1 89%
Islington 2 86%
Haringey 2 86%
Barnet 3 83%
Lewisham 4 81%
Sutton 5 80%
Ealing 6 79%
Croydon 7 77%
Hackney 8 75%
Lambeth 8 75%
Havering 9 73%
Waltham Forest 10 72%
Brent 10 72%
Enfield 11 67%

Looking at the number of planning permission appeals across London, the Boroughs of Brent and Sutton have the highest figures – with 36% of all appeals being granted approval. This is followed by Hammersmith & Fulham with 33%, and Enfield with 32%.

Those living in the Boroughs of Redbridge, Barnet, and Wandsworth may have a harder time with their applications with all these areas failing to approve any appeals.

Boroughs with the most appeals Rank No of Appeals Approved %
Brent 1 111 36%
Sutton 1 56 36%
Hammersmith & Fulham 2 60 33%
Enfield 3 156 32%
Croydon 4 124 29%
Lewisham 5 71 27%
Islington 6 50 12%
Ealing 7 10 10%

Although it can seem daunting going through the long process of obtaining planning permission, the final result of an improved home will make it all worth it.

Whether you’re planning a new extension, loft conversion or an entire house, Toolstation has a wide range of items to help you get the job done – including must-have hammers as well as roofing, flooring and joinery equipment.

Sources and Methodology

Toolstation sent FOI requests to local councils across the UK, asking for the total number of planning applications submitted, granted, declined, and appealed throughout 2020, 2021, and 2022. Not all councils responded to our request.

The following councils are included in the dataset: Aberdeen City, Bedford Borough, Bolton Metropolitan Borough, Bournemouth Borough, Bradford Metropolitan, Brighton and Hove City, Bristol City, Burnley Borough, Cardiff, Christchurch Borough, City & County of Swansea, City of Edinburgh, Derby City, Eastbourne, Exeter City, Harrogate Borough, Hull City, Ipswich Borough, Lancaster City, Leeds City, Lincoln City, Luton Borough, Maidstone Borough, Manchester City, Norwich City, Nottingham City, Plymouth City, Poole Borough, Salford City, Sheffield City, Southampton City, Stoke-on-Trent City, Wolverhampton City.

The following London councils are also included in the dataset: City of London Corporation, London Borough of Barnet, London Borough of Brent, London Borough of Croydon, London Borough of Ealing, London Borough of Enfield, London Borough of Hackney, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, London Borough of Haringey, London Borough of Havering, London Borough of Islington, London Borough of Lambeth, London Borough of Lewisham, London Borough of Redbridge, London Borough of Sutton, London Borough of Waltham Forest, London Borough of Wandsworth.

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