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Outline planning consent

Application for Outline Planning Permission with some or all Matters Reserved

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (section 92)1

When permission is required

Outline planning applications are used to gain an understanding as to whether the nature of a development is acceptable, this can help ensure viability up front. Specific details known as ‘reserved matters2’ can then be confirmed later. Allowing for planning permission to be granted subject to the condition that reserved matters are approved before development begins.

A reserved matters application can be completed through the Planning Portal’s application service.3

What can be a reserved matter?

Reserved matters (those which can be withheld under outline planning permission) can include:

  • Appearance - aspects of a building or place which affect the way it looks, including the exterior of the development
  • Means of 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 relations to buildings and spaces outside the development
  • Scale - includes information on the size of the development, including the height, width and length of each proposed building

Reserved matters4 can be withheld in their entirety or an individual basis, depending on the detail known around the development at the initial application stage.

It is up to the Local Planning Authority to decide what they believe classifies as detailed information which they require to approve the application. Talking to your local authority will allow you to understand what they deem necessary and how much information should be provided. This may come in the form of ‘pre-application advice’ which can help increase the efficiency of an application. Your local authority may ask you to provide further details after an application is submitted.

Information required

The supporting information required will vary depending on your application. In most cases you will need to provide a site plan and a location plan.

Other supporting information will be required to help progress the application, however the details may alter depending on which matters are reserved. Usually, the following details will be needed:

  • Current, prior and proposed use
  • The size of the site
  • Hours of opening and employment information
  • Number of proposed dwellinghouses
  • Flood risk assessment


An application for Outline planning permission should be granted within 8 weeks. This begins when the Local Planning Authority validate the application. For larger developments this may take up to 13 weeks.


The fees for an Outline planning permission application vary depending on the work. 

For information on planning fees, you can use our fee calculator5, this will help account for any possible reductions or exemptions.

What happens next?

Outline planning permission does not act as consent for development to begin.

Once outline planning permission has been granted, a ’reserved matters’ application must be made within three years of the consent (or a lesser period if specified by a condition on the original outline approval). The details of the application must be consistent with the outline approval, including any conditions attached to the permission.

Development must commence within two years from the latest reserved matters approval.


If your development is between 1-9 houses, then you may be eligible for Permission in Principle. Allowing for the viability of a potential development to be assessed prior to the rest of the details being submitted.

Further resources

Making an application - GOV.UK6


The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.

The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). All content © 2024 Planning Portal.