Prior Approval Application Guide

Prior Approval Application Guide

A prior approval application is often used for larger projects that can utilise your permitted development rights. They are almost like a bridge between planning permission and permitted development, and they can be a great tool to have at your disposal to make your project come to life quickly and more easily than other means. The issue however is that using it isn’t as straightforward as other planning routes.

What is the process of a Prior Approval Application?

The process for a prior approval application is relatively simple. It begins the same as most applications do. The property owner has to fill out an application and send it to their local authority, along with the fee to go along with it.

From here, the council service neighbours sharing a boundary with the property a notice of the proposed work. They can then make any complaints they may have about the work or leave for the work to proceed. If no one complains, then the work is approved by the council to be under Permitted Development rights and is then able to move forward.

What happens if there are objections with prior approval?

If there are any objections to the application for whatever reason, the council will then take these in to review. The council can decline the application if they deem the concerns reasonable or grant permission despite them.

Any decision that is made can be appealed by the property owner or developer regardless of what the local authority decide. The authority will inform the developer of the decision in either case unless they fail to do so in the allotted time, which often defaults to approval being granted instead.

How long does a prior approval application take?

The prior approval application process from start to finish typically takes around 8 weeks. This allows the neighbours to have a standard 21 days to make any objections they may have to the work being proposed. This isn’t set in stone but is the norm for these types of application.

This gives the council a total of 8 weeks from when you apply to give you a decision, regardless of what has or has not been objected to. Should they fall out of this 42-day period (as standard, although it can vary), then the application is usually granted approval by default.

What can a prior application be used for?

Although it’s related to permitted development rights, prior approval applications are actually only used for larger extension projects or for change of use, typically from commercial to residential use. This also applies to barn conversions too in many cases. Any architectural professional will be able to advise you on the best way to process regardless of what you’re working with.

For more information, take a look at the planning portal.

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