Planning issues

In the UK, the planning and building control systems are separate. Planning controls are devised locally, within the parameters of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and associated Planning Policy Guidelines (PPGs) and Regional Policy Guidelines (RPGs). The planning system determines the nature of developments, and particular attention is paid to the character of existing neighbourhoods. Planning permission is required for: all new buildings; extensions and alterations which affect the appearance of a building; a material change of use of land or buildings; sub-division of a house into two or more flats; new access on to a public highway, including a pedestrian access; and new roads. Various types of building work are permitted without planning permission, including small extensions, but stringent constraints apply in Conservation Areas and protected rural areas including National Parks. Working within the parameters of the Town and Country Planning system, local plans are administered by a planning division, usually within a development department that is separate from building control. However, some local authorities operate a team approach to co-ordinate the development process of each department and reduce delays. The occupiers of buildings in the vicinity are consulted and the process of public consultation and decision making normally takes eight weeks. Generally, planning permission is obtained before an application is made for building control, although it may be made simultaneously.

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