Beware of overzealous planning application validation requirements

The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2012, which came into force on 31st January 2013, amends the previous version of this Order to reduce the information requirements, such as scaled plans and layouts, for outline planning applications. This order also states that local information requirements are only applicable to planning applications if they were published less than two years before the application in question was submitted.

Despite the Government’s drive to streamline the planning process, we have found that many local planning authorities have increasingly chosen to ignore the regulations and have actually increased demands for information at the planning validation stage. Even for simple and small-scale outline planning applications, we have found that local planning authorities have demanded extensive plans and layout drawings.

We have also found that local planning authorities place great weight on local validation lists, even when these documents were published more than two years ago. We have noticed that some local planning authorities try to disguise the age of their local validation lists by removing the date from such documents, thereby appearing to comply with national regulations when in fact they are not.Just because a local planning authority claims that they require certain information before they will validate a planning application, this does not necessarily mean that such information is necessary and compliant with the national regulations. It is often worth challenging them on this.

In two recent cases involving schemes for less than 5 dwellings, we were forced to engage in lengthy and protracted discussions with two separate local planning authorities in Kent and Sussex about their validation requirements. In both cases the councils eventually dropped their demands for unnecessary information. But this did effectively delay the planning process in each case. Whilst we have been able to get these demands dropped we are sure that there are many people who have accepted what a local planning authority requests as being correct. This adds an unnecessary expense to the planning process that could otherwise be avoided.

If you are having any difficulties with a particular local planning authority and require the services of a planning consultant, please contact us at