Frequently Asked Questions

Planning can be a complex system, but here at Cedar Planning our knowledge and experience leaves us well placed to answer your queries. If you have any other questions, please get in touch, and we will be more than happy to help.

Planning Applications

Do I Need Planning Permission?

A number of works can be done to your home without the need for planning permission. If your building isn't listed, then most internal works do not require planning permission, with the most common exception being a change of use of the property. Extensions can also be done without the need for planning permission, via Permitted Development Rights, as long as they meet certain criteria and limitations. However, we always recommend seeking professional advice in the first instance, and often recommend that clients secure a Certificate of Lawful Development from the council prior to commencing work.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Planning Decision?

For small-scale development, the council should issue you a decision within 8-weeks, and for major-scale development the timescales are increased to 12-weeks. If you do not receive a decision in this time, you are able to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate - visit our Planning Appeal Service page to find out how we can help you. If you are submitting a Prior Approval application, the council must determine your application within 8 weeks.

What is a Certificate of Lawful Development or Certificate of Lawfulness?

A Certificate of Lawful Development, sometimes referred to as a Certificate of Lawfulness or Lawful Development Certificate, confirms whether your building works or change of use is, or has become, lawful. They are not planning applications, and instead of your council taking into account local and national planning policies, they will determine the application purely on the evidence presented to them. This is particularly true for applications where you are seeking to use the 4 or 10 year rule, which our blog post covers in greater detail.

What is a Planning Statement?

A Planning Statement is a vitally important planning document, often produced by a planning consultant. It assesses the site or proposal against the relevant local and national planning policies or Permitted Development Rights and any material considerations to set out why planning permission should be granted. At Cedar Planning we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive and compelling Planning Statements for all forms of development.

What is a Heritage Statement?

A Heritage Statement is a document which is used to assess the significance of heritage assets, such as listed buildings and conservation areas, and explores the impact of proposed developments on these assets. For certain types of development, your application will not be validated without a Heritage Statement.

Why use a Planning Consultant?

Having a Planning Consultant on your side can be invaluable for certain projects. Planning Consultants, such as Cedar Planning, can help you navigate the complexities of the planning system. We are able to assist you from the early stages of a project, with our Site Appraisal service, which offers a detailed and honest assessment of the likelihood of success. On top of this we can assist you with planning applications, planning appeals, and much more. At Cedar Planning, our Planning Consultants have experience in dealing with a wide range of planning matters.

Planning Advice

What is a site appraisal or feasibility study?

Our site appraisal service is a valuable first step for your development project. As part of this process, your proposal will be assessed against the appropriate planning policies, planning laws and history. We will also review other sites in the area, to determine if there is local precedent for your site. Once we have conducted our in-depth research we will present you with a clear site appraisal report, which identifies the opportunities and risks for your proposal.

What is a Local Plan?

Local Plans set out a vision and framework for the future development of an area. They contain a suite of policies which sets out how planning applications will be determined in an area, including environmental considerations, and can include site allocations that identify where development is acceptable in principal. They are prepared by Local Planning Authorities, or a number of Local Planning Authorities, and must be reviewed every 5 years.

Local Plans can have a big impact on the chances of success for your proposal. At Cedar Planning, we use our expert knowledge of planning policies to accurately and honestly advise our clients.

What is a Neighbourhood Plan?

Neighbourhood Planning gives local communities the power to shape development in their area. They can identify where new homes, offices, open space and employment uses are directed to. Once adopted it becomes part of the Development Plan for the area, and works in the same way as a Local Plan.

What is the National Planning Policy Framework?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government's planning policies for England. It sets out the Government's approach on how Local Planning Authorities should determine planning applications, and make Local Plans. The NPPF is supplemented by the National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) which provides further detail and clarity on specific matters covered in the NPPF.

Can I object to a planning application?

Yes. If you are worried about a planning proposal that could impact your way of life or business, you can oppose planning application. Examples of planning objections include:

  • Application does not comply with local or national policies;

  • Planning constraints such as - flood risk, green belt, landscape, heritage

  • Impacts on residential amenity, which could include noise, odour or light pollution.

    If you are what to know what are valid reasons to object to planning applications view our blog post here for more information.

At Cedar Planning we have vast experience in producing convincing planning objections. View our Planning Objection service for further information.

What is development?

Development is defined in planning law as "the carrying out of any building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land." Exemptions are set out in planning law and cover matters such as building maintenance and repairs. Other forms of development do not require planning permission, as they are covered by certain Permitted Development Rights, which allows some works to be carried out without the need for formal planning permission. Recent changes to the Permitted Development Rights for householders have increased the scope of works homeowners can do to their homes without the need for planning permission - read our blog to find out more.

If you are unsure if your proposal meets the relevant Permitted Development Rights we recommend seeking professional advice.

Planning Appeals

My Application Has Been Refused. Can I Appeal?

Yes. If your application has been refused you have the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Different timescales apply depending on the scope of works involved. At Cedar Planning we have expert knowledge of the appeal system, and provide a no-obligation review of your refusal. As part of this service, we will work with you to identify if a planning appeal is the best course of action for you and your site. Visit our Planning Appeal Service page for more information.

How Are Appeals Determined?

Most appeals are determined in writing, often referred to as Written Representation Appeals. This involves the applicant submitting an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, and includes a Statement of Case which critiques the council's reasons for refusal and sets out why planning permission should be granted. The Council may also produce a Statement of Case, and the appellant will be offered a final right to respond to the Council's case. More complex and controversial cases include hearings of public inquiries where the evidence is examined orally in greater detail. Visit our Planning Appeal Service page for more information.

How much does it cost to appeal a planning decision?

There is no fee for planning appeals, apart from some enforcement appeals.

If you would like to instruct Cedar Planning to act on your behalf, in the first instance we will provide you with some free advice on your chances of success. Following this we provide you with a no-obligation fixed-fee quote (so no hidden extras). Visit our Planning Appeals Service page for more information.

How Long Do Planning Appeals Take?

At Cedar Planning we work quickly and accurately to provide you with a comprehensive Statement of Case for your planning appeal. Subject to availability, we aim to provide you a copy of our appeal statement within 2 weeks.

Planning appeal timescales can be in the region of 6+ months for complex appeals. For smaller appeals, such as householder appeals, the timescales can be a bit shorter, but they can still take several months. The Planning Inspectorate publish data on planning appeal timescales which can be found on their website, which can be found here.

What to do if a Planning Appeal is dismissed?

If your planning appeal is dismissed, your planning application is refused. However, all may not be lost. The Planning Inspector's decision can provide invaluable information which can help shape a revised planning application on the site.

You can only appeal a Planning Inspectors decision in the High Court. An appeal will only be successful if it is determined that the decision is legally flawed.

What are the planning appeal deadlines?

The time you have to submit a planning appeal varies depending on what type of application you have made.

For non-householder appeals, such as new dwellings, if your planning application was refused, or granted with conditions (which you want to appeal), you can appeal for 6 months from the date on the decision letter. For householder appeals, such as extensions to a residential property, you have 12 weeks to appeal the decision. For enforcement appeals, you must submit the appeal within 28 days of the date that the notice was served.

How to make a Planning Appeal?

Planning appeals need to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate through their dedicated appeal portal. At Cedar Planning our dedicated and experienced planning appeal consultants can handle the whole planning appeal process for you. View our Planning Appeals webpage for more information.

Planning Use Classes

What is C3 Use Class?

Use Class C3 covers residential dwellings, and is split into three sub-sections, all of which form part of Use Class C3. Use Class C3(a) covers a dwelling used by a single person or a family, an employer and domestic employees (such as 'live in' gardener or nanny) or a carer. Use Class C3(b) covers a dwelling used by up to six people living together as a single household and receiving care. Finally, Use Class C3(c) covers a dwelling for a group of people (up to 6 people) living together as a separate household. It is important to note that Use Class C3(c) is different from House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) which are either Use Class C4 or Sui Generis Use.

What is Use Class C1?

Use Class C1 relates to hotels, bed & breakfast, inn's, motels, boarding and guest houses where there is no significant element of care provided.

What is Use Class C2?

Use Class C2 relates to residential institutions which are residential care homes, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, residential colleges and training centres.

What is Use Class C2a?

Use Class C2a is a separate Use Class for the provision of secure residential accommodation, including prisons, detention centres, secure hospitals and young offenders.

What is Use Class C4?

Use Class C4 are small shared Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), occupied by up to six unrelated individuals as their main residence. HMOs need to have shared basic facilities such as kitchen or bathroom, otherwise they are likely to be self-contained flats within Use Class C3. HMOs with more than 6 people are Sui Generis use (see below).

What is Use Class C5?

Use Class C5 is a new proposed Use Class for short-term holiday lets. This Use Class is due to be implemented in Summer 2024. See our blog post for more information.

What is Use Class E?

Use Class E is a relatively new use class which was introduced in 2020. This wide ranging use class incorporates many of the uses found on the high street, such as shops, offices, restaurants, cafes and some leisure uses. For more information see our blog post here.

What is B2 Use Class?

B2 Use covers General Industrial Uses, that would not normally be acceptable in residential areas. This can include factories and industrial uses and car repairs businesses.

What is B8 Use Class?

B8 Use covers storage and distribution uses. Class B8 uses have generally limited Permitted Development Rights, and as such any changes of use are likely to require planning permission.

What is F1 Use Class?

Use Class F1 is a relatively recent addition to the Use Class system, which was introduced in September 2020. It relates to learning and non-residential institutions and includes uses such as education, museums, public libraries, public hall or exhibition hall and public worship uses.

What is F2 Use Class?

Use Class F2 was introduced in September 2020 and looks to protect some community uses. It relates to shops mostly selling essential goods (including food) where the shop is 280sqm or smaller, there is no such facility within 1,000 metre radius, a village hall, outdoor sport or recreation and swimming pools and skating rinks.

What is Sui Generis Use Class?

Sui Generis - meaning 'of its own kind' - is a Planning Use Class for uses which do not fall into any of the other categories. Recent changes to the Use Class system now include public houses and drinking establishments are Sui Generis uses. Other examples include fuel stations, large House of Multiple Occupation (HMOs), Taxi Company's.