Outline Applications - A Stress Free Solution?
There are new rules afoot that are intended to reduce the amount of information necessary for outline planning applications. As part of the Coalition Government’s on-going attempts to simplify the planning system the amendments will reduce the information required for outline planning applications.
The changes remove the requirement to identify the approximate locations of buildings, routes and open spaces where it is declared that layout is a reserved matter on application forms. Equally, where scale is a reserved matter, the requirement for stating the upper and lower limit for the height, width and length of the buildings has also been removed. These were regarded as "unnecessarily driving-up the level of detail that applicants must provide in outline applications".
Before anyone gets carried away however with the relaxed requirements, Councils will still be able to request this information if they deem it necessary, therefore time will tell as to how much of an impact this alteration will actually make. This is especially true where an EIA is required where the effect of the above changes could be minimal, because of the need to identify and determine the effect of the proposals i.e. where proposals may have an impact upon heritage features or ecologically important locations.
The alterations are accompanied by the requirement for local authorities to review their local validation requirements every two years, which should ensure that only key information is required to validate the application.
The alterations which will take effect on 31 January 2013, do not herald a return to simple ‘red line’ application boundaries, but in a range of cases should make submission materially quicker, and more cost effective for landowners and developers.
Dawn Adams – Planner, Birmingham