A planning application is a submission of documentation which is prepared by an applicant who is seeking planning permission or consent to build on land, carry out development works or change the use of a premises. The application is typically assessed by the planning department within a town or city council or municipal authority. Different types of permission can be sought, including:
- Full planning permission: an application for permission to develop all aspects of the proposals (albeit subject to imposed conditions);
- Outline permission: an application for the approval ‘in principle’ of a proposed development, where the design or layout may not be fully advanced. Full permission would need to be subsequently sought;
- Retention/Retrospective permission: an application to retain development which was constructed without the benefit of planning permission. Typically viewed as ‘unauthorised development’ unless permission has been granted, a development such as this could be demolished if planning permission was to be refused.
A valid planning application is required to contain details on the full extent of development or works proposed, the name and address of the applicant, expected impact upon sensitive land uses and other related information. The application is typically assessed by the planning department within a town, or city council to see if it is compliant with the policies and objectives of the development plan and other material planning considerations, such as its impact on adjoining land uses. Public participation in the planning process is actively encouraged, with the planning application procedure usually open to public consultation for a set period of time, which means that members of the public can make a submission or observation in support of or to object to a live planning application. A decision on the planning application is made once compliance with planning policy, envisaged material planning impacts and the views of public consultees are all assessed and the proposed development is either granted or refused permission.