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A Question About Consents

by on October 7, 2011


Previously I asked for your feedback on the other consents you apply for and you’ve all been quiet as mice.

It may be because my question was buried in a post on another topic so here it is again up front and central.

Can you please let me know which other consents and licences you most frequently apply for in connection with developments.

I’m not interested in applications for a fishing license, nor a permit to moor your yacht, but those such as Stopping up a Highway, erecting scaffolding, skip licenses or building under a highway etc.

We’ve found about 90 potential licenses and permits that might have some bearing on a planning application, either before or post submission.

I’d like to know which are the most numerous or which you’d find most helpful to have on the Portal.


  1. Hi,

    Our top 2 applications are to extend Opening hours and alcohol licenses. Our most recent one is to abtain a marriage license



    • PortalDirector permalink

      Cue jokes about which one is going to cost the most in the long-run.
      But my congratulations and good luck.

  2. Roger Baker permalink

    I am an Architect operating as a sole Practitioner most of my work consists of small projects such as extensions, flat conversions and one off houses etc. Rarely if ever do I get involved in ‘other’ applications as generally these are dealt with by the Main Contractor or my Client.

  3. Valerie Hinde permalink




  4. timw1 permalink

    I agree with Valerie Hinde regarding Statutory Undertakers applications.

    Another area that should be opened up is Building Control applications.

  5. Applying to build within 3 metres of a sewer have arisen on several occasions.
    General “one-stop” enquiries to enable all available utilities for a given site to be obtained via the portal would be good and save time (as noted by Valerie Hinde).

  6. PortalDirector permalink

    Thanks folks,
    please keep it coming, this is really useful feedback.

  7. Definitely Building Regulations approval – I often use for various LABCs, but not all are fully on board and I regularly fill in the forms on-line, then print, sign and send them along with paper plans, or call the LA to ask for an email address.

    Other than that, building close to a sewer (as mentioned above). I haven’t done this since the majority of ‘shared drains’ became ‘sewers’, but I’m sure it will get massively more common.

  8. As a landscape architect I often have to get Highways Agency permission for a new drop kerb, which requires a letter from the planners to confirm that you don’t need planning permission, which can take a while to get hold of.

  9. As an installer of Solar PV on commercial buildings we have to use the Full Planning Application. The vast majority of questions have no relevance to the installation so a dedicated application would be really helpful in order to speed up the planning process. It is a shame that it is possible to put panels on a domestic roof which is clearly visible from the road without any planning permission, but we have to go through several weeks of waiting, and supply numerous sets of plans for panels to be sited on a roof, usually in an industrail estate, which no one can see!

    • PortalDirector permalink

      thanks for the feedback.
      I’ll speak with colleagues about your suggestion regarding a specific application for PV installation.
      Do you have any data on how many such installations are being made across your industry – it might help make the case.

      • It is difficult to quantify the numbers of these types of installations as it varies across the country. I looked at a typical planning office’s applications and, aside of a HUGE one (for a well known chain of retailers), there were about 5 others listed in the past 3 months. If this was multiplied up by the number of planning offices across the country it would add up to a very significant number every year. The industry is growing so there will be proportionately more as the months go by, particularly as PV installers are up against a March deadline (for reasons too lengthy to go into) so there will be a rush of applications which need to be obtained quickly. Surely these applications should be almost a ‘rubber stamp’ job as the appearance of them is irrelevant in the majority of cases and ‘renewable energy’ should be promoted and not made harder to install.

    • VCDesign permalink

      agree with Alyson the full planning application is totally irrelevant to PV installations- it should be a license rather than a consent

  10. Jenny permalink

    householder planning applications for extensions, full planning for change of use of buildings

  11. somasunderam permalink

    Sir Smiler to that of Alyson & jenny there seem lots of questioning for planning process there was a case of replying to neighbouring Rail Track people’s forms who them self doesn’t want to know but for the unskilled staff in the planning to waste so much time to make the applicant wait and sometimes they become chief decision makers as to what you are allowed and what not,its time you only have staff who can use the Portal in the LPA

  12. There are many post planning permission permits that are needed from the Environment Agency particularly where it could be claimed that a waste material is involved. If I had the time I would love to take up the gauntlet on behalf of my many clients who have to wade through the quagmire of application forms regarding permits to work etc. Your excellent work on the planning application forms could be applied with very good effect to the EA application forms for permits etc to simplify its system.

    Simon Brett of Brett Incorporated

  13. A lot of LAs do some sort of ‘Does my development require Planning Consent?’ form to fill in and submit. An online application for PD determination would be good.

    Thank you

  14. Small hydropower projects (low head hydropower in our case) invariably require the following permissions:

    – EA licence (abstraction and/or impoundment, determined by EA Water Resources, single fee of £135, plus advertising at local press rates recharged by EA plus £100 admin fee; determined by regional virtual teams; statutory 4-month determination timeframe, now preceded by non-statutory but semi-mandatory non-time-limited pre-app period for which charges may be introduced after consultation this year);

    – EA consent/s (Flood Defence Consents or Land Drainage Consents, depending on which regs apply at a given site; determined by local area EA development team; consents £50 apiece, number determined by EA depending on structures involved; 2-month statutory turnaround);

    – EA Fisheries approval for a new fish pass where required (national panel decision; no timeframe – process is under-resourced and takes several months);

    – planning, LBC etc (as hydropower does not fall under permitted development). As the EA is a statutory consultee to planning, it then also has a further bite at the cherry in this role, in additional to its regulatory interventions above, and may here repeat conditions or introduce new ones. Planning Portal full application process is not too bad, though it would be helpful to have a tickbox for “unattended engineering facility” which then skips all of the occupancy-based fields!

    – EA environmental permits to manage/dispose of invasive plants, apply herbicide in or near the watercourse, etc, and Natural England consent to cut waterweed in an SSSI.

    – (in rare occasions when we work below the tidal limit:) Marine Management Organisation FEPA/CPA Licence for all works below Mean High Water Spring tidal limit (significant cost of several £K, based on project value);

    If the Planning Portal is to link to these, it should use the following URLs:
    EA Hydropower homepage:
    MMO Licensing page:

    Observations on process: the EA in 2010-2011 “streamlined” its processes (in a one-app style) so that it encourages all applications for licences and consent to be made at the same time. While this improved EA internal procedures, it has not necessarily meant providing an improved customer experience, as it involves reconciling applications with different timescales and in particular an assumption that a planning application should be made at the same time as EA applications. The difficulty here is that seeking the EA permissions involves negotiation and iterative design based on EA preferences which only emerge via application. Detail of the scheme is therefore often not finalised at the point of application. Planners however are often reluctant to validate an application which is still framed in an “either/or” format. In practice, it is more logical to first address all issues which are specific to the EA’s regulatory preserves (many of which are not of interest to planners), and only then present the improved case to planners, who have a tighter determination timeframe. This issue of sequencing may remain problematic even after all transitional cases have passed through the system.

    Adrian Clayton, Mann Power Consulting Ltd
    (Archimedean Screw Hydropower Design & Installation)

  15. somasunderam permalink

    Sir The Portal Adrian Clayton refers is for NPPF but if you have such huge Portal Mixed with the local home extension planning then there is job for the locals to find the correct Forms Etc, Its best to make matters easy for locals to use any portal that is dedicated to local planning only, hence a Decentralization GOOD

  16. James permalink

    Hope this helps (some consents here the portal already deals with):
    -EA Consent for Works Affecting Watercourses and/or Flood Defences (Permanent/Temporary)
    -Screeing opinions/scoping/EIA
    -Marine Management Organisation Consent (FEPA/CPA)
    -Tree Preservation Order Consent
    -Hedgerow Removal Notice
    -Conservation Area Consent
    -Listed Building Consent
    -Scheduled Monument Consent
    -Public Right of Way Closure/Diversion

    If the portal could somehow handle the EA consent applications, that would be really useful. Also requests for screening opinions are a gap that could be filled by the portal.


  17. Alan Osborne permalink

    Hi Chris

    We regularly apply for skip permits and have no issues. I also agree with Simon Brett regarding the his comments re. EA Permitting!



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