The second week of June is nearly done!  The year is absolutely flying and I’m lucky enough to have been busy and thus a little quiet on the news article front, sorry.

In the last few weeks I’ve seen multiple applications which appear to be creating very blurred boundaries between outline applications for planning consent and full applications.  The two are the most common routes to obtaining consent (putting routes such as permission in principle aside) but it is quite worrying how many people seem to be blurring the routes.

Outline consent is, as the name suggests, a route which allows for the general principles of how a site can be developed to be considered.  Such consent is granted subject to conditions requiring the subsequent approval of one or more “reserved matters” i.e. they are reserved for later determination.  Such matters commonly include, and are defined as, access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.  You can of course pick which of the matters you wish to reserve going forward depending on the level of detail you wish to submit at outline stage.

Full consent, as the name suggests, takes into account everything from the word go though some matters can sometimes be secured by condition if further details are required.

As part of outline consents, depending on the proposal, whilst final details may not be confirmed (and hence, usually, the reason outline consent is sought) it can be useful to submit indicative plans with the objective of supporting how the proposal level of development can be accommodated within the site.  This is particularly useful for things such as separation distances on housing proposals.  It is, however, key that details submitted above and beyond the outline approach (and which theoretically should be a reserved matter if you have chosen it to be so) are labelled as indicative or illustrative.  Why, you may ask….

The National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) states that where details have been submitted as part of an outline application, they must be treated by the Local Planning Authority as forming part of the development for which the application is being made.  The Local Planning Authority cannot reserve that matter by condition for subsequent approval once submitted.  The exception to this is where the applicant has made it clear that the details have been submitted for illustrative purposes only.

So, if you are submitting detail not labelled as above then it is fair game and up for consideration regardless of whether your application is headlined as outline, or not.  It is important, therefore, to not only consider the right route to obtaining consent but also how much detail you want to and/or are able to submit to approach an outline application correctly.  Don’t submit loads of detail and then, if the Council don’t like it, try to backtrack and say its outline and doesn’t fall to be considered – if you put it there without appropriate labelling it is up for consideration.

If anyone has any queries as to the best routes for their sites or projects, get in touch!