A Pen placed on a set of planning application documents and blueprints

What is the difference between Outline and Full Planning Permission?

When obtaining planning permission there are over 20 types of planning approval.  Two types which we consider further below are Outline and Full Planning.

When residential, commercial, retail or community developments are proposed, the planning regulations allow for an outline planning application to determine whether the principle of development is acceptable.

Outline planning applications must include sufficient detail for the local planning authority to evaluate the proposals including the scale and nature of the proposed development.

This enables a landowner to get the assurance that development will be acceptable in principle without the cost of full detailed plans for the buildings proposed or full technical calculations for roads and drainage. It is helpful for the local planning authority if any potential technical constraints are addressed in principle.  These may typically include issues such as ecology, landscape impacts, trees and flood risk/drainage, for which specialist reports may be needed.

Some local authorities may seek detailed plans before validating an outline application. This can be challenged by an Article 12 Notice on the basis that the additional details required do not meet the requirements of Article 34(6)(c) of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 (the ‘DMPO’).

Once outline permission is granted this means that the local planning authority have granted planning permission and established the principle of development. Only the details can then be considered, known as Reserved Matters.

This gives some local planning decision makers difficulties with the outline process due to the level of uncertainty in the final details which they feel remains after they have granted the outline planning permission.

Following outline permission a reserved matter application must be submitted to get approval for the details of the approved scheme.  This can be phased on a large development site.

The alternative is for a Full planning application to be submitted.  This includes full details of access, layout of the site, siting of buildings with full plans and elevations of all buildings.  Highway and drainage details are also required.  This is always required for applications within a Conservation Area.

If the principle of development is unlikely to be an issue or the applicant proposes to carry out the development it is more cost effective and saves time overall to submit a full planning application in the first instance.  However, when a landowner will be selling the site it is more difficult to justify the expense of a Full Application.

J & J Design have considerable experience in both types of application and would be pleased to give further advice for your specific project.

Please contact us on 01234-328328 or enquiries@jjdesign.org.uk