Outline Planning


What is outline planning permission?

Outline planning permission is generally used to establish the principles of development. It helps find out at an early stage, whether or not a proposal is likely to be approved by the planning authorities before any substantial costs are incurred. This type of planning application allows fewer details about the proposal to be submitted in the first instance. Details may then be agreed by submitting a ‘reserved matters’ application at a later stage

APPEARANCE - aspects of a building or place which affect the way it looks, including the exterior of the development

ACCESS - covers accessibility for all routes to and within the site, as well as the way they link up to other roads and pathways outside the site

LANDSCAPING - the improvement or protection of the amenities of the site and the area and the surrounding area, this could include planting trees or hedges as a screen

LAYOUT - includes buildings, routes and open spaces within the development and the way they are laid out in relation to buildings and spaces outside the development

SCALE - includes information on the size of the development (number of dwellings), including the height, width and length of each proposed building

Some applications are straightforward and decisions can be made without detailed information, other proposals may need more information. If necessary the planning authority will ask for further details before they consider the outline application.

Once outline planning permission is granted, a ‘reserved matters’ application must be made within 3 years of the consent, or less if specified by a condition in the original outline approval. The details of the reserved matters application must be in line with the outline approval including any conditions attached to the permission.

The government sets targets for the determination of planning applications, currently 13 weeks for major applications and 8 weeks for minor applications. However, this depends on additional technical information that might be required by the planning officers. E.g. Ecological surveys may need to be done in a specific season, in that case the consultation period would be extended. There may also be other reasons why larger developments may have extended determination periods such as negotiations between the planning authority and the applicant.

The statutory consultation period is 21 days from the date the application is validated by Braintree District Council (BDC). The ‘land west of Kelvedon Station’ outline application was validated on 16th March. Comments can be submitted to BDC after the statutory consultation period ends and until the application goes to the planning committee. Anyone who comments on an application will automatically be notified of the planning committee date. Comments can be made through the website www.braintree.gov.uk/pa

The governance department allows 2 people who support the development and 2 that oppose it to speak. In addition, ward councillors and a parish councillor representative may speak. If the chair believes there are special circumstances, it may be possible for another person to speak.

When reserved matters are considered, the number of houses can reduce but not increase from the number approved in an outline application. Factors that might influence the number of houses would include site capacity and sustainability of the proposed development. Also the need for additional facilities to mitigate the negative effects of development, may affect the number of houses that can be built on the site.

Approved outline applications can be resubmitted for approval with revisions, as can detailed/full applications. Even after work has started on site, applicants may apply to have their plans revised further. Factors that influence whether an applicant will ask for revisions include:
• Requesting more housing units (this can happen even after work has started on site)
• Market conditions that affect the price, availability or type of houses proposed
• New technology
• New fashion/design ideas for house types
So whether an application is approved for outline, detailed/full or ‘reserved matters’, developers can resubmit revised plans requesting changes.  If the planning officer thinks the changes are significant enough, they will be considered almost as a new application. This will involve further consultation, planning officer’s report, and then back to the planning committee for consideration of the revised plans.