In May, the national standard planning application form called 1APP became the only legal method for applying for most types of consent including planning permission, listed building consent, conservation area consent and advertisement consent. This means that if in the future, an application is not made on the national standard form then a local planning authority will refuse to consider it.

The introduction of a national standard form is the latest step in the government’s drive to streamline the planning system and to provide consistency in the way that applications are dealt with. The standard form is supported by a national list of validation criteria which sets out the mandatory information which must be submitted with a planning application for it to be considered valid by a local planning authority. All applications for planning permission must now include the following:

  • 3 copies of the standard application form;
  • 3 copies of a plan which identifies the land to which the application relates drawn to an identified scale and showing the direction of North;
  • 3 copies of other plans, drawings and information necessary to describe the application;
  • 1 copy of the ownership certificate;
  • 1 copy of an agricultural holdings certificate;
  • 1 copy of the design and access statement, if required; and
  • the appropriate fee.

In addition to the national validation list, each local authority can prepare and adopt a list of additional local information required for different types of applications (the ‘local validation list’) which can include for example, an affordable housing statement, environmental impact assessment, draft travel plan etc.

A copy of the standard application form can be obtained from the relevant local planning authority’s website and applicants are encouraged to submit applications electronically although paper versions of the form can still be used.

Once a planning application has been submitted and is accompanied by all the necessary information, it should be validated as soon as reasonably practicable. Government guidance states that most minor and small scale applications should be validated within three to five working days from the date of receipt, whereas major applications should be validated within ten working days.

The standard application form should ensure a degree of consistency between local planning authorities. However, the fact that a local planning authority can continue to request further information and is responsible for the publication of its own ‘local requirements’, which an applicant must comply with, will ensure that local variations remain.