English Heritage Buildings Guide to Planning Permission

You’ve decided on a new oak frame building, but before you get into the detail of the design and structure, a key part of the preparatory process is to consider the feasibility of the project and secure consent from your Local Authority for an addition to a property. The most common forms of consent are Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent and Certificate of Lawful Use (for Permitted Development).

Planning Permission Advice

This guide explains all the details — from what planning permission is and when you need it, through to costs and timescales, whether to use a Planning Consultant and what to do if your application has been rejected.

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When to Start the Planning Process

When you’re looking at embarking on an oak frame building it’s important to plan as early, and as thoroughly, as possible in order to avoid disappointment and delays.

Consider the size and scale of the build and your design priorities – aim to make the fundamental decisions about how you will achieve these early on. If you haven’t already, start to consider your design and make contact with planners as early in your project process as you can.

Planning Permission may not be granted for all the aspects of your initial ideas. Therefore, be prepared to compromise in order to move forward with your project.

It is also useful to know that in some cases, you can submit an infinite number of planning applications on any one site — and choose which one to use. As long as it is current, you don’t have to use the most recent.

Initial considerations for the feasibility of your project:

  • What type of land the building will be placed on. Is it, for example, on designated land such as A National Park or The Broads, An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Area or World Heritage Site, or within the Green Belt?
  • Whether the building will be subservient to the main house.
  • The position of the building in relation to the main house.
  • Whether the building is within a residential curtilage. It can be very difficult, for example,  to build an outbuilding for leisure use on agricultural land.
  • How visible the building will be to neighbours and/or any main roads.

As a General Guide You Will Require Planning Permission If:

  • Your property is a Listed Building and your proposal affects this or is to be built within its grounds. Careful consideration will need to be given to the design and location of the proposal and the aim should be to minimise alterations to the historic fabric of the property. Outbuildings within the curtilage of a Listed Building or extensions to Listed Buildings will generally require Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission, however outbuildings may only require planning permission if fully detached from the Listed Building.
  • Your project lies on designated land and the new building is to the side or front of the house. Properties within designated land including National Parks and The Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites have to adhere to stricter policies.
  • Your intended development is closer than the nearest part of the original house to the highway. (The term original house means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948)
  • Your proposed ridge height will be higher than four metres.
  • Your project lies within an area where planning permission is required for an agricultural building.

Extensions or outbuildings within the residential (garden) curtilage of the site can be submitted under a Householder Planning Application. Any development outside the residential curtilage or those applications for a new dwelling will need to be submitted under a Full Planning Application.

Consulting the Local Authority in the first instance, by way of a pre-application, may help to smooth the path for a successful application. This could be particularly useful for proposals including a new dwelling or sensitive applications such as Listed Buildings (or those in the curtilage of) and Conservation Areas.

Permitted Development

Permitted development rights allow householders to improve and extend their homes without the need to apply for planning permission. Permitted Development is a permission granted not by the Local Authority but by Parliament (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 for which a Certificate for a Lawful Proposed Use or Development can be obtained.

Outbuildings (including garages), leisure complexes, single storey extensions such as garden rooms, orangeries and porches and even two storey extensions can be considered permitted development and therefore do not require an application for planning permission1, subject to the following limits and conditions:


Single storey extensions


Two storey rear extensions

Permitted Development Advice

Permitted Development is not always black and white and if there any questions or doubt we strongly suggest checking with the Local Authority Planning Department. For proof that your building work proposal complies with Permitted Development we recommend applying for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Properties located within the Green Belt may have restricted development opportunities to ensure open space is maintained and urban sprawl is restricted. However, in some cases, Permitted Development may allow further development.

If your project does not qualify as permitted development you will need to submit a planning application.

1 The property owner must confirm that Permitted Development Rights exist with their property and can seek further clarification from the Local Authority Planning Department.

* The term ‘original house’ refers to the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

The Building Design

One factor which the timings and the budget of the project entirely rely on is the design.

When applying for planning permission you should have your design specifically drawn out with all aspects of it being carefully considered.

Primarily, the material used for the build will affect your choice of design features inside and out, as well as timing. Once this decision has been made, you can begin to figure out how you would like the building to look as a whole, from large glass windows to exterior cladding and roofing options.

Oak frames have many advantages from a design point-of-view.

For example, as a structural frame it doesn’t require load bearing walls, allowing for larger open spaces.

English Heritage Buildings only work using Green Oak as quality is guaranteed. The material hardens with age and the dried wood supports and stabilises the strength of the overall structure, meaning the property has an unparalleled lifespan compared to brick or steel.

It is also a sustainable and durable building material with a number of eco-benefits. The natural insulation properties of Green Oak mean that the garage maintains a constant temperature throughout the year which reduces the need for additional heating or extra care of the vehicles during the colder months.

Altering a design after acquiring planning permission

You can make minor alterations by applying for a non-material amendment. However, major alterations could involve a further application for Full planning permission.

Planning Drawings Special Offer

To get your project off the ground, our in-house design team will create a set of planning drawings for you to submit to your Local Planning Authority for just £499* + vat.

What’s more, if you order your frame from us once planning permission has been granted we’ll deduct the fee from the frame price.

*£499 Planning Drawings offer applies to our detached oak frame buildings, excluding houses.

Planning Permission Application Costs

For home improvers, the current application cost in England for an extension is £206.

For a full planning permission application for a new single dwelling in England the cost is currently £462. This fee is different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. A Planning Portal handling fee of £20 is generally included with each electronic submission. Once this fee has been paid, the Planning Portal releases the information to the respective Planning Authority.

All local planning departments use the same application form, known as 1APP. You can find the applicable form for your area and complete the application process online at the Planning Portal.

As well as fees for pre-application advice, further small costs are payable for the discharge of planning conditions that must be met before development begins.

What Should a Planning Application Include?

A Planning Permission application should generally include:

  • Five copies of application forms
  • The signed ownership certificate
  • A site plan, block plan, and elevations of both the existing and proposed sites
  • A Design and Access Statement
  • The correct fee

Most Planning Applications are however submitted electronically via the Planning Portal.

A Design and Access Statement has to accompany all planning applications besides householder building works in unprotected areas and changes of use. A Design and Access Statement is also required for developments located on designated land. A Heritage Statement is generally required with proposals affecting or located close to Listed Buildings or sometimes within Conservation Areas.

Statements are used to justify a proposal’s design concept and the access to it. The level of detail depends on the scale of the project and its sensitivity. Without it, planning authorities can refuse to register your planning application.

How Are Applications Decided?

The local authority will base its decision on what are known as ‘material considerations’, which can include (but are not limited to):

  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Impact on listed building and Conservation Area
  • Nature conservation
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Proposals in the development plan
  • Parking
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic
  • Noise
  • Government policy
  • Disabled access
  • Previous planning decisions

The authority will make statutory consultations with the local Highways department, and where necessary the Environment Agency as well as others.

As part of the procedure there is also what is known as the public consultation process. This is where a sign is posted outside the address of the proposed development and any neighbours that might be affected by the project are written to and invited to view the plans and comment. Only those objections based on material considerations are taken into account.

If the neighbours do not object and the officers recommend approval, they will usually grant planning permission for a householder application using what are known as delegated powers.

If there are objections to the application then the decision will be made by a majority vote by the local planning committee. At the meeting, you or your planning consultant will be given three minutes within which to address the planning committee.


How Long Does the Planning Process Take?

Local authorities are supposed to determine planning applications within 10 to 12 weeks of registration, and the majority of straightforward householder applications will be dealt with within this time frame.

Included within this is the public consultation process that generally takes 3 weeks.

How Long Does Planning Permission Last?

You have three years from the date full consent is granted to begin building, unless your permission states otherwise. If you have sufficient time to make what is known as a ‘material start’ then it may be wise to secure the permission in perpetuity, allowing you the time needed to get started properly.

If the expiry date is imminent, it may be best to reapply to ensure you have enough time to plan and deliver your project. Avoid buying a plot with permission that is about to expire as the consent will expire before you have chance to get started. This is especially relevant on consents which were hard fought or where planning policy may have changed. Securing new permission may not always be possible.

Should I use a Planning Consultant?

We suggest obtaining initial comments and recommendations from a professional Planning Consultant before submitting an application for planning permission. This will help you better understand the feasibility of the project and what may or may not be possible. A professional will ensure the proposal is appropriate for your plot, design plans and stipulations of the local authority. This is a free service offered by English Heritage Buildings.

When making an application for Planning Permission, our advice is to appoint a professional Planning Adviser to do this on your behalf. Every planning application is unique and a professional’s expertise in planning policies, their understanding of Local Authorities and knowledge of ways to overcome any obstacles could prove invaluable in achieving a successful application.

English Heritage Buildings’ Approved Planning Consultant

English Heritage Buildings works with an approved Planning contractor, whose services our clients have been using for over 10 years.  The business owner and Associate of this Chartered Professional practice are qualified in planning matters and building design and each have almost 30 years of experience working in architectural practices. They offer a detailed understanding of our products, materials and construction techniques in order to provide comprehensive planning advice on your project.

The scope of works included within the Planning Service will generally incorporate the following:

  • Tailored comments for the specific proposal and how to move forward with the most suitable application.
  • A fee quotation which will generally include a site visit and meeting with the client to discuss the proposal further.
  • Where required, a measured survey of the existing property or site in the location for a new outbuilding (whichever is appropriate).
  • Preparation of plans and elevations of the existing property or outbuilding structures to be demolished (Whichever [if any] is applicable).
  • Obtaining all information required during the site visit to include with the planning submission.
  • A detailed and tailored supporting Design And Access and/or Heritage Statement.
  • Providing a digital Ordnance Extract for the purposes of a site and location plan (requirement for planning submission).
  • Prepare, submit and monitor the application. Where possible we try to liaise with the Planning Officer to ensure a positive outcome of the application.

The Planning Appeals Process

In England around 75% of Planning Permission applications are granted. If your application is rejected, you can either amend and resubmit it, having dealt with the reasons for refusal, or make an appeal to the planning inspectorate.

If your application isn’t successful, don’t give up, you have the right to appeal. In addition, you can submit a revised proposal, incorporating the concerns raised during the course of the original planning application. This can be done within 12 months of receiving the decision without incurring further costs to the Local Authority, so long as the principle of the proposal does not change. Approximately 40% of householder applications that are refused are later granted at appeal.

You can also withdraw an application at any time — so if you think you are going to get a refusal, you can withdraw it at any time up to the day itself, and resubmit free of charge.

For further information on Planning Permission check out our Top 5 Planning Tips.

Planning Service

Now owning something so special has become simpler than ever before, because we are offering all our customers a ‘hassle-free’ planning service for peace of mind.

We understand that planning can sometimes be complex and time consuming, so that’s why we’ve designed our planning service to take away the hard work.

Each case is considered by the Local Authority Planning Office on an individual case-by-case basis and provision of planning services by us does not guarantee a successful outcome.

However, our expert Planning Consultants are very familiar with both our Oak Frame buildings and the optimum ways of presenting your case to the local authority. They have a 95% success rate on first time applications, giving you the best chance of a successful outcome, even in Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas.

Planning Feasibility Document

Once you have decided on your building design, English Heritage Buildings can provide you with a free feasibility document that will include the following:

  • planning overview based on location and previous local planning history
  • complete planning service quote
  • general planning advice
  • fixed price full detailed frame quote including assembly prices.

Planning Service Options

Option A: £750 plus Local Authority fees and drawing costs.

For small outbuildings not requiring
a site visit or a Design and Access Statement

Option B: £1,500 – £1,850 plus Local Authority fees and drawing costs.

For larger outbuildings, complexes
or attached buildings requiring a
site visit and a Design and Access Statement

Option C: £1,850 – £2,450 plus Local Authority fees and drawing costs.

For Listed Buildings or buildings in Conservation Areas

Planning service

These Planning Service options enable us to help you with your planning needs, no matter what you’re intending to build. The planning option prices shown include the costs to prepare, submit and monitor your planning application excluding any specialist reports which may be required such as flood risk assessments, bat surveys, biodiversity reports etc.

In addition to the above, we can offer to undertake site measurements and drawings of existing buildings suitable for Planning/ Listed Building Applications where an extension is proposed. Each of these should be considered a ‘one off’ and fees quoted for individual cases.