As far as the vast majority of homeowners and first-time property investors are concerned, the world of the planning permission department is one cloaked in secrecy and mystery. They assume that some of the most important decisions imaginable are hammered out behind the scenes and away from the public eye, with little more than a roll of the dice of the respective individual’s mood at the time determining the outcome.

Back on planet Earth however, this really isn’t the case at all. Just as is the case with all matters pertaining to public interest, the planning permission application, acceptance and refusal system is one that’s fully transparent and in no way kept secret from any and all members of the public. Of course, it’s up to those with an interest in such matters to do their own digging in order to find out what’s relevant to them, but to assume it’s all an enigmatic world of smoke and mirrors is misguided to say the least…not to mention counterproductive.

Application Refusal

Of course, when you’re on the receiving end of a planning permission application refusal, it’s natural to feel a little like the tiny bug that’s just been squashed by the almighty powers that be. It’s a pretty crushing blow to say the least and one that may have long-term implications and consequences, but at the same time a dead end it most certainly is not.

Every time an application is refused, it must be turned out in accordance with very specific guidelines and criteria which aren’t just matters of opinion, but fully quantifiable. According to the experts at, the worst thing to do is simply accept that the refusal is final and not make any real efforts to push the proposal through, which is a process that of course begins with evaluating why the application was turned down in the first place.

Planning Permission – What Determines Success or Refusal?

So really – what are the kinds of things that are taken into account when considering applications?

Existing Development Restrictions

Well, first of all there’s the possibility that the proposed build could contravene all manner of development restrictions which may not be apparent at the time of application. Anything from the height of the proposed build to its location could be grounds for refusal, though even in these rather black-and-white cases there’s still room for trying again.

Loss of Light or Overshadowing

One of the most common reasons why planning permission applications are turned down is the way in which it has been determined that they will result in either loss of lighting or unacceptable overshadowing of a specific area or property. If, for example, you’re planning to build a block that will cast the homes behind it into darkness for 85% of the day, chances are you’ll face tough opposition. In these instances, it’s normally a case of weighing up what makes the most sense in the name of the greater good, not just the applicant.

Residential Amenity

This term brings into consideration a variety of factors including everything from the potential noise emissions of the proposed build to its proximity to existing amenity space for nearby properties and so on and so forth. If a proposed build is deemed likely to be in any way problematic for the surrounding locality, an application may be declined.

Road Safety

Something else that will always be brought into consideration is road safety, which may sound like a rather unusual check for property development but is nonetheless a quite enormous deciding factor. If for example the proposed build will in any way restrict what’s considered to be an important view from a road safety sense, may cause any dangerous congestion on the roads or will in any way affect road safety and traffic fluidity, it will most likely be declined.

Overall Design and Appearance

This will of course come more down to the personal opinions and indeed the common sense of those charged with the task of evaluating the application, though if you’re looking to create or build anything that’s clearly an eyesore, this will most likely result in the application’s refusal. The choice of materials for the build may also contribute to the application’s chances of being accepted.

With all of the above to take into account, it’s little wonder the country’s leading experts always advise applicants to speak to leading planning permission specialists prior to going ahead, just to give their application that all-important shot in the arm. Applications made through these kinds of agencies are exponentially more likely to be accepted, making it a hugely worthwhile endeavour for those taking their own property expansion or development seriously.