The planning system is used by local planning authorities to ensure that uncontrolled development does not take place. This can include building new buildings or changing the use of a building or part of a building.

Whilst some projects are deemed Permitted Development (see below), for most new buildings or substantial changes to existing buildings, Planning Permission will need to be applied for from the local planning authority.



Outline Planning Consent is often used to establish whether a scheme would be acceptable to the local planning authority. By submitting an outline scheme, which has not been fully developed it is possible to establish an in principle approval, without the time and expense involved in design and preparing a full application.

This approach is often used on more contentious scheme, where there is a change of use or the scheme is not in line with planning policy.

If Outline Planning Consent is granted, then a Reserved Matters Application will be required, where the remaining details of a fully developed scheme are submitted for approval.

MAD architects can work with you to decide if Outline Planning Consent is the most appropriate type of application for your development and develop a scheme with the appropriate detail for your application.


A full planning application should be submitted for all other detailed scheme including;

  • New buildings
  • Material change of use of a building
  • Change of number of dwellings
  • Change all or part of a dwelling to non-residential use

MAD architects can work with you to develop a scheme for a Full Planning Application, including drawings, design & access statements and completing the application forms.


In recent years there has been a relaxation in planning legislation which means more smaller domestic projects do not require planning permission, as they are deemed to be ‘Permitted Development’.

If you do not live in a ‘Designated Area’ (includes, Conservations Areas, National Parks) then some small projects are deemed Permitted Development.

Some of the key issues determining if your residential project is can be deemed as permitted development include;

  • Not covering more than 50% of the land on the site
  • Not exceeding the height of existing roof ridge or eaves
  • Not extending beyond the principal elevation
  • Size and height of extension
  • Not creating a veranda, balcony or raised platform
  • Materials to be similar to existing


Where domestic projects do not fall within Permitted Development constraints then Householder Planning Consent will be required. This covers all proposals to alter a single house or works within the garden of a house including;

  • Extensions
  • Conservatories
  • Loft conversions
  • Dormer windows
  • Garages, car ports and outbuildings

Further guidance is available at the bottom of this page.

Where required we can use our experience to develop a scheme which falls within the Permitted Development constraints, eliminating the time and expense of a planning application.

Generally internal alterations do not require planning approval however if you live in a listed building you may require Listed Building Consent.

MAD architects can apply to your local authority for a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’. We recommend this as the confirms that the works are Permitted Development and can save time later if you sell your property at later date.


Once the application has been submitted the local authority should make a decision within;

  • 8 weeks, for minor applications
  • 13 weeks, for major applications

If consent is granted you normally have three years to start your development, and it is likely that there will be some conditions attached to the approval, which will need to be discharged before construction can start.

If you do not start your development within the three years, you will be required to re-submit you application, and it is not guaranteed to be approved again.


Additional consent may also be required if you live in a

  • Listed building (Listed Building Consent)
  • Conservation Area (Conservation Area Consent)

or you if require some form of advertising (Advertisement Consent)