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Permission in Principle

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What is the permission in principle consent route?

The permission in principle consent route is an alternative way of obtaining planning permission for housing-led development which separates the consideration of matters of principle for proposed development from the technical detail of the development. The permission in principle consent route has 2 stages: the first stage (or permission in principle stage) establishes whether a site is suitable in-principle and the second (‘technical details consent’) stage is when the detailed development proposals are assessed.

Development cannot proceed until a Technical Detailed Consent has been granted.

What matters are within the scope of a decision on whether to grant permission in principle?

The scope of permission in principle is limited to location, land use and amount of development. Issues relevant to these ‘in principle’ matters should be considered at the permission in principle stage. Other matters should be considered at the technical details consent stage. In addition, local authorities cannot list the information they require for applications for permission in principle in the same way they can for applications for planning permission.

Can all types of development be given a grant of permission in principle?

Non-residential development may also be given permission in principle providing housing occupies the majority of the floorspace of the overall scheme. Non-housing development should be compatible with the proposed residential development, and may include, for example, a small proportion of retail, office space or community uses.

The following types of development are specifically exempt from inclusion in a grant of permission in principle:

  • Householder development
  • Development consisting of the winning and working of minerals
  • Environmental Impact Assessment development
  • Habitats development

How must a decision on whether to grant permission in principle to a site be made?

A decision on whether to grant permission in principle to a site must be made in accordance with relevant policies in the development plan unless there are material considerations, such as those in the National Planning Policy Framework and national guidance, which indicate otherwise.

Up to date guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/permission-in-principle.

Download the permission in principle application form