The Planning System

Central Government Guidance states that “the purpose of the planning system is to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development”. Sustainable development is defined by the United Nations General Assembly as ‘‘meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The guidance goes on to note that “pursuing sustainable development involves seeking positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment, as well as in people’s quality of life” (Communities and Local Government (2012): National Planning Policy Framework. UK. P.2-3, Paras 6 & 9).

Essentially, the UK planning system seeks to manage the development of land and buildings to ensure the best of our heritage is conserved, whilst improving our infrastructure and making the most efficient use of land without compromising character or amenities.

Most new buildings or major changes to existing buildings or to the local environment need consent – known as planning permission. This permission needs to be sought directly from the Local Planning Authority (LPA) – usually the District or Borough Council.

It is our role as planning professionals to guide you through the planning process. We can advise you whether or not you require planning permission, and if you do, the best way to go about securing the necessary planning consents for the development you intend to undertake – be it an extension to your property, or a major residential or commercial redevelopment.


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