Why are good plans so important?

People often talk of ‘planning delays’ but - as any planning officer will confirm - one of the commonest reasons for delay is an inadequate application. If a proposal is submitted with plans that are unclear or out-of-date, the planning department can’t deal with it, because it isn’t valid. A delay is almost inevitable and your proposal might even be rejected.

So, avoiding delay is one reason to use proper plans. Here are three more:

  • A planning permission is a legal document, so the plans must leave no room for doubt about what has been permitted. If, for example, a boundary or the position of a new building is wrongly shown, the result may be a dispute, or enforcement action. In extreme cases, you might even be required to demolish the building and start again;
  • The planning authority can only assess a proposal if it’s shown accurately. Plans that lack essential details, such as recent new housing in the neighbourhood, can cause confusion; and
  • Poor plans can provoke objections. When the planning authority receives an application, it will often consult with the roads authority, the local Parish or Community Council, or other organisations, to see if they have any comments. If the plans are unclear or inaccurate, misunderstandings may cause these bodies - or perhaps the neighbours - to object. That’s never a good start.

It’s also very important to use plans from a legitimate source. Planning authorities want to be sure that the plan doesn’t breach the Ordnance Survey licence. They’ll need to see the acknowledgement of Crown copyright so that they know that the plan hasn’t been used previously. They won’t welcome a plan that’s been illegally copied, or perhaps downloaded from an unlicensed website.

When are planning maps needed?

What kind of plans are needed?

What needs to be included on each plan?

How many copies are needed?

Where do I get further help?