Outline Planning Permission – The Pros & Cons
What is outline planning permission and what does it achieve?
Outline planning permission is useful where the principle of building a residential property on a plot has not yet been established. If outline planning permission is granted it will have to be followed up by a full planning application.
It is a form of planning consent that we would apply for if a client wanted to build a new bespoke house on a plot and planning policy didn’t readily support its approval.
This might be the case if the plot doesn’t already have a residential building on it and it falls outside an established development boundary.
It can be a useful route when you want to establish the principle of building a new house on a plot before investing further in the design of a bespoke house.
Because the purpose of outline planning permission is to establish a principle it is almost entirely about addressing planning policy and has very little to do with the design of the house. Typically a very simple site plan showing the approximate size of the house and its’ location are all that is needed.
However determining the size and location to maximise your chances of getting outline planning permission is where knowledge of planning policy is needed. Additionally we would support an outline application with a document that sets out the case for approving the permission. Because outline is sometimes used as a first step where planning policy is stacked against building a new house, having an extensive knowledge of planning policy is crucial to putting forward the best case.
One of the benefits of applying for outline planning permission is that you don’t need to spend money on developing a detailed design before knowing what your chances of getting full planning permission are likely to be. If a site justifies the submission of an outline application i.e. your chances of success are good enough, then investing in submitting a strong case for approval becomes worth it.
There are some risks to submitting an outline application. If outline planning permission is granted the subsequent full planning application will have to conform to the principles of the outline planning. For this reason we aim to make the outline application as ‘loose’ as we can so that it restricts as little as possible the design of the house for the full application.
If OP is granted it will have ‘reserved matters’ attached to it. These are conditions that will have to be met by a full planning application.
We are currently working on a project where the client came to us with outline planning permission. Unfortunately the application had a very specific footprint shape drawn for the house and an elevation with a very specific height for the house. This means that the planners now want us to work within these parameters for the house design and any significant variation from this is likely to be contentious and risks a drawn out planning approval process.
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