What is Outline Planning?


If you are wanting to build an extension or any kind of building renovation, you will need planning permission from the council. Now, what if, after making all the plans and drawings you find out that your planning application has been denied. There is a way, in which you can get permission from the council without having to go through all the hassles of a full plan. It is an Outline Planning Application. You can apply for Outline planning permission with a minimum amount of paperwork.

When it comes to Outline application, you must ask about what is it and how long does it last? You will find the answers to these questions below.

Outline Planning Application

Outline Planning application usually seeks to know whether the scale and nature of building development are acceptable by the local council or not. This type of planning application needs minimum details about the proposal. After it has been accepted by the council and the permission is granted, the property owner has to show the detailed drawings and other documents that the council requires. This detailed application that comes after Outline planning permission is called “reserved matters” application.

What do you need to apply for Outline Planning?

Outline planning application needs fewer details than a full planning application. It is an easy way for developers to find out if the renovation is principally acceptable without the cost of full plans and technical calculations. Mentioning any technical limitations for which specialist reports may be needed may be helpful for the local authority while applying for outline planning. An outline application should include the followings:

  • The uses proposed for the development.
  • Development proposed for each use.
  • The indicative layout.
  • Complete measurements of proposed buildings.
  • Areas in which access points to the site will be located.
  • Design and access statement.

Reserved Matters Application

Once the outline application has been approved the landowner needs to submit a “reserved matters” application with details that the council asks for. Reserved matter application may include the appearance of the building, means of access to the property, landscaping around the property, layout, scale of the development and other details recommended by the council. You must submit the reserved matter application within three years after getting the consent.

For what developments can you apply for the outline application?

The outline application is usually acceptable for a new building, for an alteration or an extension of the building. This type of application is made to see if the application is valid in principle without spending a lot of money behind it. You cannot apply for an outline application for properties within conservation areas.

Is it different from the full planning application?

An outline planning application is different from a full planning application in many ways. While a full planning application needs all the detailed drawings of a property, the outline application only needs a few necessary ones agreed by the local council. You cannot apply for outline planning in a few cases while a full planning application can be done for almost all building developments. You cannot apply for an outline application if you are asking for a change of use in your property, you will need a full planning application for that.

Even though outline planning requires fewer details, and full planning is a must for some developments, both applications take a similar timeline to get decided. Outline application usually gets decided within eight weeks of application. Some applications may take longer because of the complexity level.

Next step

After receiving consent from the local council, you must submit the reserved matter application within three years. Once this application has been accepted you can carry on with structural design and afterward construction.

We would recommend you apply for a pre-application to your local council before carrying on with a planning application. This way, you will be able to know the specifics of your local council’s requirements. We have experienced consultants, who can help you with the pre-application and application process.


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