In most cases, it is the house designer who will manage the planning application process. The usual route is this:
1. Pre-application Advice: local authorities offer a pre-application check of your plans to assess them against their planning policies. This process costs (usually around £100) and usually involves a site visit from the local authority planning officer which results in a report. To be clear, a positive response at this stage is not a guarantee of success – the advice is not binding. But it is a good indicator as to the likelihood of success. Crucially, the report will also advise on any additional reports or surveys that you might need – for example, a bat survey, or an ecological impact report [check]. You will need to arrange these before you progress on to the next stage. You can find out more via the Planning Portal website here.
2. Formal Application: your designer will gather the appropriately sized drawings, including location maps and siteplans, and produce a Design & Access Statement. This will explain the context for the application and give the reasons behind the choices of design and materials. It is important, therefore, that at this early stage you’ll have made the key decisions in a broad sense, although the actual choice of supplier can be deferred for later.
FREE Planning Appraisal
Potton offer a free planning appraisal service. If you have a potential plot then why not submit your details and we will get back to you with our findings, answering the all-important question 'is it a plot or not?'
The Decision Process
The local authority will assign a case officer to your application who will then make a choice as to which of the two decision routes your application will navigate. If it is a relatively uncontroversial scheme, within an area of existing housing, then in most cases the planning officer will decide themselves, assessing the scheme against the local planning policy and the response of consultees.
If the scheme is more controversial – perhaps it is outside of the existing settlement, or the house style and type is very unusual, then they might decide to enact the second route, deferring the decision to the Planning Committee.
To put it in context, the decision whether to allow most self build homes falls to delegated local authority planning officers. If the application goes to Committee, the outcome can be a lot more difficult to predict, as the decision becomes a political one.
In over 90% of cases, planning applications are decided within 8 weeks of the application being received (regardless of the route it goes down).