Planning permission for community-led housing

Detailed plans will be required for the submission of an application for planning permission and to obtain building regulations approvals for a community-led housing project.

Planning permissions may be granted subject to conditions or subject to the signing of a Section 106 Obligations. These can restrict development, require certain works to take place or require details to be agreed. More advice can be found at the Planning Portal.

Appointed professional teams will often take responsibility for liaising with regulating bodies and gaining necessary consents, though this may not always be the case, especially for smaller and less complex projects.

It is often useful to seek pre-application discussions with the local planning authority, prior to making the formal application for planning permission. Plans with yet more technical detail will be required to inform the actual construction process.

The whole detailed planning process needs to be monitored and co-ordinated carefully by the project group. A failure to adequately oversee and agree work at this stage can lead to significant problems including rising costs, unwanted amendments or unnecessary delays. Regular meetings with the project manager are necessary to check that details of the ongoing project are fully known to your group and that they are agreed and understood.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has a scale of project stages, reflecting these different levels of detail.

RIBA scale of project
RIBA Plan of Work overview

Consents and regulations

Your professional team will be able to advise you on the full range of relevant consents and regulations including for example:

  • Building Regulations, Fire and Access
  • Infrastructure and access
  • Special designations
  • Listed building consent.

Planning permission basics

  1. Site/building ownership: you do not need to own the site/building to make a planning application
  2. Criteria for assessing your application: Your planning application will be assessed against the Development Plan for the local area unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
  3. Outline and full planning permission: Permission can be obtained against all of these criteria at once using a ‘full’ planning application or in the case of new build schemes, you can apply for an ‘outline’ permission to see if the development is acceptable in principle.
  4. Fees: Fees are payable for applications and are non-refundable.
  5. Timescales: Developments of less than ten units (or less than 0.5 hectare) are termed as small and should be considered by the local planning authority in eight weeks.
  6. Pre-Application Advice.

Read more about how to tackle your community-led housing project here.

Funding is available

Community Buildings Project Support funding of up to £40,000 is currently available to help groups cover the costs involved in moving a project from the feasibility stage to the submission of a planning application.

Find out more here.

Read more about delivering a community-led housing project