Applying for planning permission

Outline planning permission

Outline Planning Permission allows some specific parts of a permission to be reserved for future approval. Outline Planning Permission applications are generally used for larger developments.

The government has made changes to the list of reserved matters and the minimum level of detail that must be submitted at outline application stage.

Reserved matters are now set out as:

  • layout – the way in which buildings, routes and open spaces are provided within the development and their relationship to buildings and spaces outside the development
  • scale – the height, width and length of each building proposed in relation to its surroundings
  • appearance – the aspects of a building or place which determine the visual impression it  makes. This includes the external built form of the development, its architecture, materials, decoration, lighting, colour and texture
  • access – the accessibility to and within the site for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians in terms of the positioning and treatment of access and circulation routes and how these fit into the surrounding access network
  • landscaping – this is the treatment of private and public space to enhance or protect the amenities of the site through hard and soft measures. This may include, for example, planting of trees or hedges, screening by fences or walls, the formation of banks or terraces, or the layout of gardens, courts or squares

The changes now require an increased level of detail to be submitted with outline applications. As a minimum, applications will now include information on:

  • use – the use or uses proposed for the development and any distinct development zones within the site identified
  • amount of development – the amount of development proposed for each use
  • indicative layout – an indicative layout with the approximate location of buildings, routes and open spaces and, where appropriate, separate development zones proposed within the site boundary
  • scale parameters – an indication of the upper and lower limits for height, width and length of each building within the site boundary
  • indicative access points – an area or areas in which the access point or points to the site will be situated