Can you get planning permission without owning land?

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Whether you are a property developer or investor, investing in land can help you make a good profit. When you are out to find your dream land, you’ll notice two different types of lands – lands having planning permission and lands without it. If your preferred plot of land doesn’t come with planning permission, it’s quite normal if you feel hesitant about whether or not to buy it.

Obtaining planning permission for a land without owning it

To steer clear of the above dilemma, you can apply for planning permission for the land. And you don’t need to own the land to do it. It simply means you can apply for permission prior to buying the land. In that case, you must inform the people who’ve an interest in it. These include:

  • The owner/part owner(s)
  • Leaseholders with a minimum of 7 years lease remaining
  • Any agricultural tenants

However, there are downsides to doing it as well. First of all, the activities associated with getting planning permission may make the owner feel hesitant to sell the land to you. Since the process takes several weeks to complete, the owner may prefer to find a different buyer.

It’s also important to understand that lands with planning permission are sold at a much higher price than lands without it. Therefore, once you’ve obtained planning permission, the seller may prefer to put it back on the market to increase profit. They can simply add that planning permission has been received for your proposed works. However, you can avoid it by making an option agreement with the seller. It’ll compel him/her to sell the land only to you if you can obtain planning permission.

Different types of planning permission

There are two kinds of planning permission – full planning permission and outline planning permission.

Full planning permission

Full permission refers to approval of the accurate and detailed plans you wish to use to build the project. These include how your site will be laid out, highway access and drainage details, and the complete architectural blueprints, among others. These will help the planning authority to get an exact understanding of what you are planning to build.

Outline planning permission

As the name suggests, it gives an outline of what you’re intending to do. The objective of getting an outline planning permission is to be able to address concerns and objections early to avoid major complications in the future. For example, before buying a piece of land, you want to know whether or not you can build on it. You simply apply for an outline planning permission to the local authority intimating them about your plans to build on the land and they’ll let you know the size of the house you can go for. Compared to full permission, outline permission is cheaper, faster, and less detailed.

In some cases, a project may be completed with an outline planning permission but more complex and larger projects will need full permission. You should also note that outline permission isn’t a mandatory requirement when it comes to obtaining planning permission. You can always directly apply for full permission depending on the nature of your project.

To learn more about applying for planning permission, you can visit the official website.

Parting thoughts If you want to get planning permission for a piece of land without owning it, simply go for it while keeping the above factors in mind. You should get all the information you need to make an application from the planning authority. You can also hire a registered planning consultant to get professional help with the process but that may be an expensive affair. Alternatively, you can contact the RTPI that offers low-cost/free service through its Planning Aid network.

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