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Planning Permission for a Construction Site

Planning permission from local planning authorities is a legal requirement for construction projects in the UK. Building work, including clearing and setting up the site, cannot begin until you have received permission in written form. To get this you will need to make an application.

Applying for planning permission for a construction site can take time, especially if you do not understand your obligations or make mistakes in the process. To avoid this, it is best to do this well in advance and ensure you understand your duties.

In the following guide, we explain what planning permission you need and how you can secure it for your construction project.

Why do you need planning permission for a construction site?

Construction sites typically have an impact on the local area, including situations in which you are:

  • Changing the use of land, such as when converting a residential property into a commercial space.
  • Increasing the amount of traffic by building a new road or car park, or simply causing congestion.
  • Generating noise or pollution, such as by operating a noisy construction site or using heavy machinery.
  • Altering the character of the local area, such as when constructing a tall building or other structure that is out of keeping with the surrounding buildings.

For a construction project to be approved, the local authority will want to balance the impact of any disruptions to the area against the value of the project. Severe disruption could cause issues for the people who regularly use or live in the area, and the authority will demand that you take measures to reduce these effects. These factors will need to be considered when applying for planning permission.

The planning process

The planning process for a construction site can vary depending on the local planning authority. However, the general steps involved are:

  1. Find out if you need planning permission
  2. Prepare a planning application
  3. Submit your planning application to the local planning authority
  4. The local authority will assess your planning application and decide whether to grant permission
  5. If permission is granted, begin setting up your construction site. If not, you may be able to appeal the decision

How can you apply for planning permission?

There are typically two ways to apply for planning permission in the UK:

  1. Online: through the local authority's website. This is usually the quickest and easiest way to apply.
  2. By post: using a paper application form, which you can usually download from the local authority's website.

When applying for planning permission, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • The address of the land or property you are proposing to develop
  • A description of the proposed development
  • Drawings and plans of the proposed development
  • A statement of the reasons for your application
  • A fee decided by the local authority

Your planning application will be assessed by your local planning authority. They will decide whether to grant permission, refuse permission, or ask you to make changes to your proposal. The decision process can take several months.

If your planning application is granted, you will need to comply with the conditions of the planning permission. This may include regulations governing the size, appearance and use of the development.

If your planning application is refused, you can appeal the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

Here are some additional tips for applying for planning permission:

  • Start planning early: the planning process can take several months, so it is important to start planning early.
  • Get professional help: if you are not familiar with the planning process, seek professional help from a planning consultant.
  • Be clear and concise: your planning application should be short and to the point. The local planning authority will need to understand your proposal clearly in order to make a decision.
  • Be prepared to answer questions: the local planning authority may have questions about your proposal. Be prepared to answer these questions in your planning application.

Things to consider when planning your construction project

Depending on the type of work that is being carried out, your site will have different characteristics and challenges. Sites in urban areas are likely to see more of an impact when it comes to noise pollution and traffic congestion, while those in rural and more isolated areas may have to combat inaccessible roads, weather and access to facilities.

Portable accommodation and welfare facilities can help to meet your workers' requirements while minimising their need to commute. Site Sleepers can be installed directly onto the site or in a nearby location, allowing your workers to reside somewhere convenient and safe. Portable toilets, showers, changing rooms and canteens will allow your staff to escape the elements, securely store their belongings and reduce their need to leave the site. This is often more cost-effective and better for the environment than commutes or arranging hotel stays, but you will need to factor this into your planning application to make sure you have the space for it.

The portable cabins at Bunkabin are easy to organise and install. We build our cabins in our facilities and ship them straight to you, installing them on your site or in a location of choice quickly and with minimal fuss. We are a trusted provider for many industries, including for construction work, so you can be sure that our cabins meet health and safety standards and will not affect your planning permission application.

To learn more about how Bunkabin can help you to meet your workers' needs, call us today on 0345 456 7899, or fill out an online contact form and we will be in touch at a time suitable for you.


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