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How Long Do Planning Applications Take?

Obtaining planning permission can take a while. It can easily throw a wrench into your project's schedule if you're not careful. In most cases, you have to account for a few weeks of waiting time and often some additional time to deal with any potential objections. Some planning applications take longer to approve than others, and you should be prepared to deal with that adequately.

How long does it take to review a planning application?

There are several stages in the assessment of a planning application. In total, you can expect the process to last around eight weeks. In some cases, it can take significantly longer than that.

The main stages involved are an internal and external assessment. During the internal assessment, your local planning authority will evaluate your application to determine if it meets its own criteria.

The external assessment is meant to ensure that the project won't interfere with your neighbours or anyone else in your area. It involves obtaining statements and general opinions from everyone who might be affected. This can sometimes take a long time if your planned project is in a larger area and there are lots of different considerations to be made.

You will usually not be notified as your application moves through these different stages.

house planning drawing

Can I do anything to speed up the process?

Other than ensuring that all your paperwork is in order and submitted as requested, there's not much you can do to speed up the approval process. In fact, you should refrain from contacting your local authorities for progress updates. This will not improve your chances of obtaining your planning permission faster, and may in fact work against you.

What should I do if my planning application is rejected?

If your application gets rejected, you can always submit an appeal. This will increase the approval period even more. It can take several months to obtain your planning permission if you have to navigate through rejections along the way. Your renewed application will not get any priority just because you've been waiting for some time.

As a rule of thumb, if your initial application gets rejected, you should consult additional experts for validation. A fresh set of eyes can often point you towards mistakes or shortcomings that you didn't catch initially. Make sure to share as much information as possible with them. Go into as much detail as you can about your application and why it was rejected so they would know which points to investigate in detail.

You should account for a few weeks of waiting time when submitting a planning application to your local council. Eight weeks is the bare minimum you can expect if everything works out without any issues. In some cases, it can take significantly longer than that. It's not rare to spend months waiting for approval, depending on the complexity of your application and whether you encounter any rejections.

Clara Annesley

Clara Annesley is an interior design and construction content writer. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Architectural Design Technology from the University of West London. Clara specialises in residential construction for topics like health & safety, architectural design and writing cost guides for renovation and remodelling projects.