Apply for planning permission
Planning permission is required for any work defined as 'development' in Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. 'Development' refers to any building works or material changes of use as per the use class order.
It is your responsibility to obtain planning permission where required. Failure to do so may result in enforcement being taken against you.
The planning process can be quite complex. Before starting your application process we recommend that you read through all the steps below.
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Before you start...
See our FAQs for commonly asked questions about everything before submitting a planning application.
Has the property been through planning before?
If you are unsure of the planning history of the property we can provide a planning history check. This might rapidly inform any plans you have.
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Step 1: Understanding your aims
Before applying for planning permission, it's important to understand why the works are wanted. This can help you explore creative options when choosing what you want to develop.
Is planning permission required?
Not all works require planning permission, so finding this out early could save you a lot of effort. We offer a service to find out if planning permission is required which includes a check on whether permitted development rights have been withdrawn at the site in question.
Want some early advice or guidance?
We offer initial planning advice to anyone thinking of making a planning application now or in the future. This service allow allows us to explore with the you the aims, issues and opportunities for a given site. Early engagement with us can reduce risk, speed up your process and help you get maximum value from the opportunity.
The resources below give guidance on whether or not you need planning permission.
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Step 2: Refining your proposal
Once you know if your proposed works require planning permission, you must choose which type of application best suits your proposal.
The type of application you must submit depends on what you want to do. We offer a comprehensive list of application types and fees.
For applications for planning permission (the most common type of application made) there are three main types.
- development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse (not change of use)
- includes: extensions, conservatories, loft conversions, dormer windows, alterations, garages, car ports or outbuildings, swimming pools, walls, fences, domestic vehicular accesses including footway crossovers, porches and satellite dishes.
- excludes: any work to flats, changing the number of dwellings (flat conversions, building a separate house in the garden), changes of use to part or all of the property to non-residential (including business) uses, or anything outside the garden of the property (including stables if in a separate paddock).
- 1 - 9 dwellings
- site area less than 0.5 hectares (residential uses)
- 1000sqm or less / 1 hectare or less (other uses)
- 10 or more dwellings
- site area of 0.5 hectares or more (residential uses)
- site area of 1000 sqm or more / 1 hectare or more (other uses)
Have you been recommended follow-on advice by a planning officer?
If you have used our initial advice service, a planning officer may recommend follow-on advice. This is suggested for closing down the last few remaining issues on a proposal.
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Step 3: Preparing your application
Having gathered all the information for your proposal, you will need to compile a valid application. It is critical that you read and follow our detailed guidance on how to prepare a valid planning application.
Need help making a valid application?
We offer a validation advice service to help applicants make valid planning applications.
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Step 4: Submitting your application
Once you have prepared your application, you must choose how to submit it to us. We prefer submissions to be made via the Planning Portal.
Submit via Planning Portal
Full payment will be taken by Planning Portal. See our guidance on submitting a valid application for examples of well written supporting documents, please see the best practice for submitting attachments [PDF | 544KB].
Submit application via Planning Portal
Submit by email
We also accept applications via email. For examples of how to submit an application via email, see the best practice document for submitting an email application [PDF | 129KB].
Submit application via email
Submit by post
You can send your application by post to: Planning, Growth and Sustainability, Buckinghamshire Council - Wycombe area office, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP11 1BB.
If sending your application by post be sure to include:
- reference to the type of application you are submitting
- completed application form - download yours from Planning Portal (external website)
- all required documents - provide originals plus one copy
- cheque - if paying by cheque, please include this in your application (if you do not include a cheque, a member of the planning department will contact you to arrange payment)
- all of the plan and document requirements set out above - see our guidance and examples for correct preparation
What we do when we receive your application
You will be notified once we have received your application. See our planning FAQs webpage for commonly asked questions about everything that happens after submitting a planning application.
We cannot register your application until the correct fee has been paid. See planning application fees for details on the different application fees and how to pay.
Pay application fee
Once the fee has been paid your application will undergo a two-stage check:
- registration - checking that all the correct documents have been submitted
- validation - checking that the content of the documents is correct
Once your application is registered and validated, it will be passed to a planning officer. They will determine whether, on balance, your proposal is acceptable in the context of the Government's national policy (external website) and the local development framework.
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If we discover an error in your application, it will be returned to you. We do not check for further errors. We will advise you of the reason for failure and ask that you correct this and any other errors. The application fee will be withheld to allow any corrections to be made.
If you do not correct your application within 15 working days, we will deduct a £50 admin charge and refund the balance to you. If you need help correcting your application, please use our validation advice service.
Step 5: Amending your planning application
If you wish to amend your application after submission and before determination, you can make a request to do so through our planning application amendment service. Please note that this service is not applicable if you have already received your decision notice.
If you wish to amend your application after determination, you can do so by applying for a non-material amendment to a determined planning application. You can apply for this in the same way as any other planning application. See step 4: submitting your application above for more information on how to do this.
Have you been recommended an amendment by your case officer?
Sometimes your case officer will recommend an amendment to improve the quality of your development. Guidance on what to do when an amendment is recommended can be found on the planning services and planning FAQs pages.
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Step 6: Getting your decision
Once your planning application has been determined, you will be issued with a decision (usually in the form of a decision notice). This decision is not a simple yes or no answer.
Below are the four main outcomes/decisions that can be made on your application:
You may see an abbreviated code on your decision (eg PER, REF, PEOBL). Common abbreviations are set out on our planning applications and fees page; less common codes are found in the glossary.
See our FAQs page for commonly asked questions about everything after getting your decision.
Your decision may be subject to planning conditions. You can find a list of application types that can have conditions on our planning applications and fees page.
These conditions tend to fall into two categories:
- conditions that must have the details approved before any work can commence (also known as conditions precedent)
- conditions that require details to be submitted, approved, and implemented prior to development being brought into use
Some guidance on the use of planning conditions can be found below:
How do I remove, amend, or approve details of a planning condition?
To remove, amend, or approve the details of a planning condition you must submit either an application for approval of details reserved by condition (ADRC) or an application for removal or variation of a condition (VCDN). You can do so by:
Section 106 agreements and planning obligations
For very large and complex applications and schemes, planning obligations (also known as a Section 106 legal agreement) assist in mitigating the impact of unacceptable development to make it acceptable in planning terms. To do so, it must meet the tests set out in the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 (external website) and as policy tests in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Just like planning conditions, you can apply to modify or discharge a section 106 legal agreement through an application to the Council. Forms and guidance are included below:
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Appealing your decision
If your application is refused, you have the right to appeal your decision to the Planning Inspectorate. This appeal can be against the refusal or against conditions imposed on permission. Alternatively, you can re-apply with a different scheme for consideration (standard application fees and processes apply).
Appeal a planning decision
When can I appeal?
You can appeal within 12 weeks of the decision (for householders), or within 6 months (other applications). Anyone who made comments on the original application will be notified when further comments are sought during the appeals process.
Can anyone make an appeal?
Please note that only the applicant can appeal a planning decision.
If you are not the applicant but you are unhappy with the decision please see the complaints and compliments procedure for details on how to comment.
If you are still dissatisfied, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman on 0845 602 1983.
For any further questions about the planning application process please email email@example.com.