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Maps for planning applications – your questions answered

by on April 27, 2017

When you apply for planning permission, your local authority will usually require a planning map to support the application. Having the right map from a reputable source, increases your chances of a successful planning application; saving you time and money.

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you comply with this area of the planning application process. If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to email us and we will do our best to help.

Why are maps rejected by local authorities?

One of the most common reasons for planning applications being rejected by local authorities is that the accompanying plans are invalid.

The following errors can invalidate a map:

  • Location marked incorrectly
  • Incorrect or missing scale label
  • Out of date information
  • Reproduction, rather than original supplied
  • The map does not fit correctly on a A3 or A4 piece of paper
  • The map does not show the direction of north.

What is the difference between a location and site plan?

A location plan shows a proposal in its surrounding context and a site plan shows the development in more detail. In addition to a location plan, some authorities might also require a site or block plan which is a larger scale map, showing the precise location of the building as well as the overall site. It may include amenities such as car parks, pylons and trees and will show vehicular access to the site.

How can I ensure my site location plan is compliant?

  • Ensure markings for both the property boundary and other land owned are clear and current (showing the land as it is today) with a red line around all the land that is required for the development and blue line drawn around any other land owned by you
  • Use an identified standard scale – 1.1250 for urban applications and 1.2500 for rural or larger applications
  • Clearly mark the direction of north
  • Make sure that the plan can be scaled to fit A3 or A4 paper
  • To demonstrate that the map does not breach copyright, clearly show the date of both plan creation and purchase
  • Show relevant roads and buildings.

How can I ensure my block/site plan is compliant?

  • Use an identified standard scale – 1.200 for urban applications and 1.500 for rural or larger applications
  • Clearly show the proposed development in the wider environment including the site boundaries and other buildings in the area
  • Providing they will affect the development, clearly show all access routes, public rights of way, buildings, trees and footpaths on land adjoining the site
  • Show the type and extent of any hard surfacing/hardfacing.

Where can I buy location and block/site plans?

You should always purchase maps from a reputable source, such as Planning Portal-accredited suppliers.

Access a pdf of this guidance.

7 Comments
  1. M Geary permalink

    Blue land can also be land the applicant controls, not only that they own

  2. Leslie Brown permalink

    Why not show an example fully marked up with leaders/arrows referring to the items you have referred to. It will make it plain to see. I purchase mapping with OS grid shown as well. Some LPA’s (validation officers) insist on 2 streets being purchased/marked up as well.
    Are two streets required? Is one none compliant?

  3. L Richards permalink

    There is more to this than the article includes and some of the terminology needs review. I agree that without some examples it is not very informative. Block plans are usually 1:500 versions of the OS location plan. Site plans are detailed layouts often at 1:200. The red line needs to include the application site plus its access to the highway. Getting the plans to fit on a4 or a3 is not, and could not be a requirement otherwise larger projects would not fit to the required scales. I routinely see applications on the planning register that do not comply with these requirements and yet have been validated.

  4. Surely the shape of the property is “the thing” and that is either owned by the applicant or the application is made on behalf of the owner who consents to its use.

  5. Ian T Donaldson Associates permalink

    Is it possible to use your maps with a CAD system so that they can be scaled to say 1:200 and 1:100 and oriented to align with the street frontage making it easy to produce street scene drawings as required by many LPA’s?

    • sarahchilcott permalink

      Hi Ian, Yes that change is in development and should be available around the end of the month. Sarah

  6. Miles Snowdon permalink

    I have always understood that it NOT imperative that OS maps are used. I have many maps/plans that I have checked as accurate. Surely Location Plans based on these are acceptable.
    Furthermore Google Earth is to scale and accurate. Is there any reason why Google Earth based Location Plans should not be acceptable?

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