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Local Authority Bulletin - April 2021

Published: Tuesday, 27th April 2021

Features: Five top tips to help reduce planning application invalidation

We understand that invalidation of planning applications is an ever-increasing problem that Local Authorities face. We have pulled together guidance for you to share on your website and through your social media channels on the best way to help reduce invalidations.

Did you know that on average 50 per cent of all planning applications submitted are deemed invalid by Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)? An application is classed as ‘valid’ when the application includes all the necessary documentation, plans and fees, as outlined in the LPAs ‘local list’ or ‘Validation Checklist Requirement’ documents.

These requirements should be specified on a formally adopted ‘local list’ which has been published on its website less than two years before an application is submitted. Local information requirements have no bearing on whether a planning application is valid unless they are set out on such a list.

When an application is invalid, if the additional information requested is not received in a timely way it is returned to the applicant, often with an administration fee and requires them to amend and submit again.

Each LPA will have slightly different requirements based upon the application type, scale and location in order to reach validation, however our research highlighted a few key issues that arise time and again. This blog will give you five top tips to help minimise these issues, reducing invalidation rates and saving you both time and money.

  1. Always check your local information requirements.
    National requirements for applications are the same throughout England, however, each LPA will have their own local information requirements. Each LPA will produce a list which details any specific documentation required to accompany the application. The requirements may vary according to the type of application. Local requirements can be found on the relevant LPAs website or on the ‘Supporting Documents’ page when submitted online via the Planning Portal. You can find your Local Authority here.
  2. Have you signed and dated your documents?
    You may feel this is standard practice and that of course the application form and certificates will be signed and dated. However, time and again applications are being prevented from proceeding due to missing critical signatures. The time and cost impacts for such small mistakes can make a big impact to both the submitter and the associated local authority. If submitted online, our forms validation should prevent this from happening.
  1. Have you paid your fees?
    Different application types (i.e. Householder applications, outline applications, lawful development certificates and prior approvals) require the applicant to pay a fee to the council and is to be paid at the point of submission. Planning Portal have created guidance on planning application fees which can be found here. You can also use our Fee Calculator to help guide you. Through submitting via the Planning Portal and our payment service, you will have the functionality to nominate your client to pay their fees quickly and efficiently. The application will not be submitted until payment has been made. By ensuring fees are paid this helps to reduce the number of invalidations. For more information about our Financial Transaction Service click here.
  1. Have you included your design and access statement?
    LPAs often find that no Design and Access Statement has been submitted when one is required. A Design and Access Statement must be submitted for major applications, listed building consent applications, applications in world heritage sites and conservation areas where the application is for one or more dwellings, or where the floor space created by the building or buildings is 100 square metres or more. For more information about design and access statements, read our guidance here.
  1. Do your location and site maps meet requirements?
    Planning applications need a location plan which shows the proposal in its surrounding context and a site plan (also known as a block plan) which shows the development in more detail and needs to display any roads and/or buildings on land adjoining the application site. For further information on what to submit, you can read our guidance here. To ensure your plans meet application standards, you can create your plans using ReQuestaPlan from our parent company TerraQuest. Whether you are a homeowner or a professional, ReQuestaPlan is a simple and easy to use solution enabling you to instantly create a PDF version of an OS map of a specific location or download a DWG for greater manipulation. And if you register for an account you can easily edit your plans and resubmit!

The Planning Portal is the home of planning and building regulations information and the national planning application service for England and Wales.

Since it was established in 2002 the Planning Portal has safely processed more than 5.5 million planning applications and over 90 per cent of all planning applications are submitted through our site.Our aim is to provide answers, services and information to anyone involved in the planning process, from home owners and businesses to planning professionals and government officials. We deliver this by working in partnership with every local authority in England and Wales and continue to pursue new opportunities to transform planning and building. Follow this link for more information and to see how we can help you!