I built my two storey extension for 20% of builder's quotes

This site shows how - step by step from design to completion

Submitting House Plans through the Planning Portal 

How to apply for planning permmission for an extension? First, I recommend you check out plenty of old pplanning permission documents and view planning applications. You can learn a good deal from seeing what has and hasn't been passed by your local Council. You can even view old planning applications online, so it's not an arduous task.

My Local Council website had plenty of clear information regarding submitting traditionally or online submissions.

You will need:

  1. A scale drawing of your existing property - preferably 1:50 or 1:100

  2. A scale drawing of your proposed property and extension in the same scale

  3. A completed application form

  4. A Design & Access Statement (if you live in a Conservation Area)

  5. A Block Plan - 1:500

  6. A Site Plan - 1:1250 

If you are in a Conservation Area you will need to write a Design & Access Statement. This may seem daunting; my advice is to go to your Local Council Planning pages, find a couple of recent applications that included a D&A, and read what the architects wrote. Style varies from architect to architect but you will get a feel for layout and what to include. You may also find that your Local Council website has a blank D&A form that may help you. It's not rocket science, just ensure all the points you make really are relevant and consistent with the council's Local Plan, don't waffle on about irrelevant stuff!

Once you have your existing and proposed drawings and your Design & Access Statement (if you're in a Conservation Area) you can venture over to the Planning Portal.

This is the Government site with lots of information and step by step instructions on the submission process. I found the site very good so, unless you're a real technophobe, I'd recommend this online method of submission.

You will need block and site plans at 1:1250 and 1:500. Follow the step by step application system on the portal, and it will offer you a few different sites from where you can buy your maps. I bought a 1:1250 as on online download from Street Wise, rescalling and cropping it to make the 1:500. This cost about £11.

I used the e-mail facility offered on the portal's "contact us" page to enquire as to what format I should save my drawings. They asked for .PDF (see CAD page for information on PDF conversion)

You might notice that some architects include the Site & Block drawings on the 'Existing Property' drawing. It looks pretty cool so I taught myself how to do this. However, it can get a bit tricky with scaling, so don't feel you have to do so. You can just supply them separately, and save yourself a bunch of time.

The step by step guides you through filling in the application form. You don't have to do it all in one go as it allows you to save where you are up to and login at a later date to complete it. If you are unsure about filling in the form I suggest you go to your Local Council Planning pages, find a a couple of recent planning applications and download their application forms to see what level of detail they entered. Also don't be afraid to seek advice by e-mailing or calling your Planning Office. If your submission is incomplete they will not accept the application, which causes a lot of delay, so you want to get it right first time.

Once your application is filled in, a series of buttons on the website allows you to upload your documents - D&A, Drawings, Site and Block. You may also upload any additional files that you consider relevant - photographs of neighbouring houses, perhaps. Again, if you are unsure what is or isn't relevant, just look what other applicants have uploaded.

The portal could not accept my payment but upon completion they issue an application number as a reference. The website instructions were clear. They directed me back to my Local Council website to pay online. I did this, all went smoothly. I like the system. I recommend it. There is nothing to be daunted by. Do it yourself and planning permission costs are not that great.

You should get a confirmation e-mail and then a letter from your Local Council confirming the acceptance of your application or refusing it and explaining why, such as paperwork missing. This letter will also confirm the timescale for dealing with you application. The council must offer 6 weeks for interested parties to register any comments and should offer you a decision no later than 8 weeks after acceptance.