Permission in Principle legislation is updated for most small, housing-led developments

From the 1st June the Government published updated guidance on Permission in Principle to include small, housing-led developments for minor developments (nine residential units or less, with less than 1000sqm of commercial floorspace, and/or on a site of less than one hectare). It does not apply to major development, or schemes subject to an Environment Impact Assessment or habitats legislation.

Planning in Principle has been about since 2017.  This latest update presents an opportunity to bring forward within a shorter timescale, individual smaller housing schemes or smaller parts (within the 9 unit threshold) of a larger housing scheme that have not been entered on a brownfield land register.

There are two stages: the first stage is an application for Planning in Principle.  This seeks to set a minimum and maximum net amount of dwellings on a sites, and the scope of permission in principle is limited to location, land use and amount of development.  The determination date of this application is 5 weeks, and unless the site is on a brownfield land register, there is a right to appeal the decision if it is refused.

The second stage is the Technical detail consent stage, which requires the submission of further details (to be agreed with a Local Planning Authority), and for minor development should be determined within 5 weeks (unless an application is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment in which case a 16 week limit applies).

We consider that the inclusion of minor residential development within the Permission in Principle procedure presents a further option to consider to obtain a consent for development, without the expense of an outline application and in theory within a shorter timescale.

If you would like further information in respect of these changes, please contact our Planning Consultant, Peter Biggs on 07710016079 or


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