What is an outline planning application?

What is an outline planning application?

An application for outline planning permission allows for a decision on the general principles of how a site can be developed. Outline planning permission is granted subject to conditions requiring the subsequent approval of one or more ‘reserved matters’.

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What are reserved matters?

Reserved matters are those aspects of a proposed development which an applicant can choose not to submit details of with an outline planning application, (ie they can be ‘reserved’ for later determination). These are defined in article 2 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England)

Order 2015 as:

 ‘Access’ – the accessibility to and within the site, for vehicles, cycles and pedestrians in terms of the positioning and treatment of access and circulation routes and how these fit into the surrounding access network.

 ‘Appearance’ – the aspects of a building or place within the development which determine the visual impression the building or place makes, including the external built form of the development, its architecture, materials, decoration, lighting, colour and texture.

 ‘Landscaping’ – the treatment of land (other than buildings) for the purpose of enhancing or protecting the amenities of the site and the area in which it is situated and includes: (a) screening by fences, walls or other means; (b) the planting of trees, hedges, shrubs or grass; (c) the formation of banks, terraces or other earthworks; (d) the laying out or provision of gardens, courts, squares, water features, sculpture or public art; and (e) the provision of other amenity features;

 ‘Layout’ – the way in which buildings, routes and open spaces within the development are provided, situated and orientated in relation to each other and to buildings and spaces outside the development.

 ‘Scale’ – the height, width and length of each building proposed within the development in relation to its surroundings.

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Is there a time limit for making an application for approval of reserved matters?

Under section 92 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, applications for approval of reserved matters must be made within a specified time-limit, normally 3 years from the date outline planning permission was granted.

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Do all reserved matters need to be submitted for approval at the same time?

Applications for approval under outline permission may be made either for all reserved matters at once, or individually. Even after details relating to a particular reserved matter have been approved, one or more fresh applications can be made for approval of alternative details in relation to the same reserved matter.

Once the time-limit for applications for approval of reserved matters has expired, however, no applications for such an approval may be submitted.

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