What Scale is a Site Plan?

A much asked question. The scale of a site plan or is typically 1:1250. This means the map, when printed onto an A4 sheet would be 1250 times smaller than the location in real life. So for example 1 cm on the map would cover 1,250 cm in the actual site location, that's 12.5 metres. Site plans are typically need to show the overall context of a planning application rather than the more detailed block plan, which is typically 1:200 or 1:500. We hope that helps!

Here's an example site plan or go here to buy a site plan.

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Why does it take so long to get planning permission?

That’s a question that many applicants ask. Naturally, we all want to get on with our project and sometimes planning permission is the key to concluding a land deal or releasing mortgage funds. So it’s not surprising that people sometimes become frustrated by delays.

The usual time limit for deciding on a planning application is eight weeks. More minor amendments to existing planning permissions are usually dealt with in four weeks. Considerably more time can be spent on more complex projects: for example, the time usually allowed to deal with applications for Listed Building Consent is 13 weeks. The planning department can ask you to give them more time. So, what happens to your application once you’ve submitted it? Where does the time go?

The first stage in processing the application is checking it. The planning department will want to be sure that all the necessary plans and drawings are present, that there enough copies of them and that all the forms and certificates have been signed and dated. What you submit can have a major influence here: it’s absolutely vital to submit planning application maps that are clear and of good quality. An application that has poor maps and drawings or is incomplete in some other way is likely to be seriously delayed.

The next stage - and the other major source of delay - is usually consultation. The planning department relies on advice from a whole range of people and organisations in order to help it decide whether or not your proposal is acceptable. Usually, some of these people are within the council, for example the roads engineer or the conservation officer. Outside the council, the number of consultations can vary enormously, depending on the kind of project. Copies of your application might go to the parish or community council or the local civic society. In special cases, one of the government agencies responsible for nature conservation might be involved, or - if you live close to an airport - they might consult the Civil Aviation Authority. Bear in mind that all these people rely on good planning application maps to make sense of the proposal.

Once the replies to all these consultations come back, the planning officer will consider what should happen to your proposal. If consultees have raised no problems and it complies with council policy, you’ll probably get a decision very quickly. Where issues arise, though, it may be necessary to ask you to amend proposals, which can obviously take a bit longer. If a proposal is very large or complex, or if there have been many (in some cases, any) objections, it may need to go before the planning committee, which can easily mean a further three or four week delay.

Some planning departments are undoubtedly more efficient than others and all have probably been affected to some extent by economies in staffing. But if your application does seem to be taking an unusually long time, don’t hesitate to ask the planning department to explain what’s happening. If the problem wasn’t caused by an incomplete application or unsatisfactory planning application maps and drawings, the most likely reason for delay is that consultees have taken longer than expected.

“I’m in a Conservation Area - what does that mean?”

There are around 10,000 Conservation Areas across the UK so, if you’re pondering that question, you’re not alone. Conservation Areas are usually created in those parts of towns or villages that are rich in history and character. The law says that they are: “areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”.

When Conservation Areas were first established in the late 1960s, the only things that were automatically subject to stricter control were the felling or lopping of trees and the demolition of buildings. If you have property in a Conservation Area, wherever it is in Britain, you’ll need permission from your local council to do either of these things.

example planning map scale

Unsurprisingly, though, there’s more to it than that. Over the years, the differences between the rules in Conservation Areas and elsewhere have become greater, affecting things like satellite dishes. What’s more, every local planning authority can make a local ‘Direction’, the effect of which is to remove the permitted development rights that you’d normally have. For example, it’s very likely that you’ll need permission to do such things as replace windows or build even a small extension. Usually, too, you’ll need to ensure that your project uses appropriate materials. For example, in some places that might mean using cast iron rainwater goods rather than plastic.

If you live in a Conservation Area, the best thing to do - before you start planning work of any kind affecting the exterior of your property - is check the local rules with your council’s planning department. They may well have information on their website and they’ll probably also have some sort of leaflet that you can pick up from their office. If you need to apply for permission, it’s always important to ensure that your drawings and planning application maps are of a really good standard, because any development in a Conservation Area is usually scrutinised very carefully.

But Conservation Areas aren’t just about restriction. They ensure that the best of our heritage is kept for future generations, they help ensure that every place retains as much as possible of its own unique identity. That’s a particular asset for anyone whose business involves visitors.

There are other benefits. Councils have a duty to consider how every Conservation Area can be enhanced. Some may offer grant aid towards any extra costs you face. What’s more, the fact that Conservation Areas enjoy protection from poor-quality development means that they’ve become more desirable as places to live, which in turn is often reflected in higher property prices. So, although there may be a little more personal inconvenience and sometimes extra cost, there are compensations.

Depending on where you live in the UK, you may find it useful to have a look at these websites operated by the relevant government agencies, but do also speak to your local planning department.

English Heritage


Planning NI

The Scottish Government

How Come Planning Maps Aren't Free??!

A question we often get asked! Mapping over the past few years mainly due to the growth of free mapping services like google maps and bing maps have given the impression that mapping is a free resource. In fact, accurate mapping of any scale is incredibly expensive to create. There is the surveying, the interpretation of what each object on the land is but it's also a never ending process as new buildings are built, knocked down, etc.

Planning maps are in main based on OS Mastermap, which is the most detailed available, possibly the most detailed map of any country globally. A whole army of people at the OS are involved in maintaining the map, which costs money..alot of money! So unfortunately somehow this expenditure needs to be recouped!

However rest assured, getting a detailed map of your house and street from £10.80 is a great deal!

What Our Customers Are Saying..

I've had to use OS maps in previous planning applications. I'm the home owner and the planning application process requires a location and more detailed map to accompany any approach to a local authority planning facility, even if it's just for guidance. Compared to a previous application the sourcing of this essential information through Buy A Plan was absolutely straightforward and swift. I would not hesitate to use this site again, or recommend it to others. Andrew, High Wycombe.

The service is easy to use with great quality results, got everything I needed in 5mins. Anon

I was trying to help out my son by organising the plans and found this website. The step by step instructions were easy and simple to follow and they are so quick. I received the plan immediately in a user friendly format. Will not hesitate to recommend. Sue, Harlow

Brilliant! Thanks Kamaljit Kaur of Proud Properties

So just what are a site plan, a location plan and a block plan?

These different kinds of plan help your application through the planning process.
The location plan (which is sometimes called a site location plan) lets everyone know exactly where you’re proposing to carry out your development. It will show quite a large area around the development site. In town, a location plan might be at a scale of 1:1,250. In a rural area, with fewer roads, buildings or natural features, you might need to show more of the local area using a smaller scale, say 1:2,500, to let people find the site easily.

The terms ‘block plan’ and ‘site plan’ are often used interchangeably. The block or site plan shows the development site in some detail, including the precise position of the building, access roads, car parking, drainage runs and any special features of the site such as trees and shrubs or perhaps an overhead electricity line. The block or site plan will also show the land you own: the development site and access should be outlined in red with any other land you own outlined in blue.

If the planning authority asks for a block plan in addition to a site plan, it’ll be because they want something that shows more of the surrounding area, beyond your site boundaries. That will help them assess any wider impacts that your proposal may have. For example, does the new building affect more than just the immediate neighbours, perhaps because of its effect on privacy?

The scale of the site plan will be partly influenced by the size of the development but it’s often at 1:100 or 1:200. A block plan – if it’s asked for separately – might be at 1:500. We supply high-quality, authorised extracts from Ordnance Survey maps that are ideal for your needs.

Interested? Go here for more information or to buy site plans, block plans or location plans.

The top 6 reasons why planning application maps are rejected

You may well go to lots of trouble to get everything else in order, only to find that your planning application is sent back because there’s something wrong with your maps or plans. The result? Your whole schedule may suffer.

So, why might your maps be rejected?

Here are five reasons:

Reason 1: The location of your site isn’t marked clearly on the map. Remember that the planning officer needs to be quite sure where your site is and where its boundaries lie. If the site isn’t shown clearly on the map, the officer can’t process your application. It’s much easier to mark the site accurately on a proper Ordnance Survey map. You can see how it is properly marked (see point 1 on the example plan with red lines marking the property boundary and blue lines marking other land owned but separate from the property.

Reason 2: The map is out of date. The planning officer needs to know that all the surrounding development is shown accurately. However, if you use an old map, the chances are that new development has occurred since it was published, making it more difficult to assess the impact of what you propose. And it’s not just the planning officer who’ll be unhappy; a neighbour whose house has been left off your map may not be too pleased, either.

Reason 3: The map scale is either missing or wrong. It’s important that the scale is clearly shown because the map will be used to assess such things as distance to neighbouring properties or roads. Our Ordnance Survey map extracts have a scale (see note 3 on example plan).

Reason 4: The map is hand-drawn or perhaps traced from some other map. This is never a good idea as it will probably be inaccurate and may look scruffy, too. The answer is to use Ordnance Survey planning application maps.

Reason 5: The map has been photocopied from someone else’s application. This is a breach of copyright, and the planning authority won’t knowingly condone that. You need to submit planning application maps that are authorised copies.

Reason 6: The map does not point North. All our maps point North (see note 2 on example plan).

example planning map

Clearly, the answer is to use the up-to-date, accurate maps that we offer. They're mapped by from Ordnance Survey and they really are the best you can buy, fortunately you can download these planning application maps from our site.

Free Planning Maps! Come and Get Them.

"A free planning map"..did that get your attention? This isn't something we plan to repeat quickly but we're offering free planning maps for a limited time (the promotion can be ended at our discretion) as follows.

Free Planning Maps

Firstly you do need to purchase and download a planning map but we will then fully refund the plan, here's how..

  1. Firstly share your experience of using our service. You will be sent a survey email a day or so after ordering. Follow the link in the email to the survey and share your experience of using our service as shown in the last question.
  2. Still on the questionnaire, don't forget to sign it off with your first name and the name of your town / city.
  3. Finally, email us a photo to [email protected] of you holding your plan and include your name and town so we can link your comments up with the photo.

Interested? Then go here to order Free Planning Map (by entering the postcode of the property in the green box on the right of that page). Promotion ends June 20th 2013.

Ordnance Survey Planning Maps - 5 Reasons Why They're The Best

os planning maps

We're proud that we're a Ordnance Survey® Licenced Partner. So just why are OS planning maps the best on the market?

  1. They feature mapping called MasterMap® which is the most up to date mapping available with an update cycle of 6 weeks.

  2. MasterMap® is also the most detailed available with over 400 million geographic features including administrative boundaries, buildings, heritage and antiquities, land, rail, roads, tracks and paths, structures, terrain and height, and water.

  3. They are based on what's called vector data which means the maps can be scaled easily and still display perfectly.

  4. Ordnance Survey Planning Maps are also available digitally which means you can choose to email them, submit to a planning web site online or print out.

  5. MasterMap® is also 'layered' which means for the professional, it is possible to select only the geographical features they need.

Select and download your Ordnance Survey Planning Maps here.

1:200, 1:500. 1:1250 Scale? Confused?

Often talked about but sometimes not understood, maps scales are important when buying a planning map. So here goes..

All maps are made to scale. In each case the map scale represents the ratio of a distance on the map to the actual distance on the ground. So imagine a map scale of 1:1, in other words 1 metre on the map would equal 1 metre on the map, however that would be impractical as the map would need to be massive! Therefore we need to represent the real world of roads, house boundaries etc in a smaller space and therefore use scales that enable the real world to be represented in a smaller space. Here are some typical examples you might see on this site which are typical planning map scales:

1: 1250 scale: means 1 metre on the map represents 1250 metres on the ground.

1: 200 scale: means 1 metre on the map represents 200 metres on the ground. Therefore it's a far more detailed map than the 1:1250 scale.

example planning map scale

We hope this helps! Go here to order any of these 1:200 scale plans, 1:500 scale plans, 1:1250 scale plans and 1:2500 scale plans.

A Beginners Guide To..Planning Application Maps

Not something you probably buy often, the humble planning application map is just one of the things you need to get hold of as part of your planning application process. However providing the wrong planning maps that don't include the necessary features may mean your application is delayed even refused.

Okay so what needs to be on a planning application map? Well you actually need to submit two types of plan, a site plan (typically 1:1250 scale) that shows the general location of the property and you need to submit a block plan (typically of a larger scale like 1:200 or 1:500 scale).

planning application map sample

So a site plan needs to show the boundary of the site including land required for access have to be coloured red. The plan must point north and be A4 size, except where larger developments prevents this.

Whereas the block plan must indicate the location of the proposed development within the site boundaries and again it should point north and be ideally A4 or for larger developments A3.

Need clarification? Read our article on planning application maps here.

Welcome to the Buy A Plan Blog

Hello and welcome to the new Buy A Plan blog. We'll be using this space to write about happenings in the area of planning & planning maps, site updates and of course useful help articles.

Keep your eyes peeled as we start adding articles.