How Long Does Planning Permission Last?

How Long Does Planning Permission Last?

How Long Does Planning Permission Last?

Generally, planning permission is valid for three years from the time the local planning authority grants it. Once work has started on a project the planning permission will last indefinitely.

When planning permission is granted, there is a three-year time frame from the date of approval to the start of development. If you do not begin work within this period, the planning permission will expire and you will lose the right to proceed with your project.

It is essential to note that the expiration date is determined by the time of approval not the date of purchase of the land or building.

It is also important to keep in mind that there is no fixed deadline for completing your project. The three-year limit only applies to the time between the approval of planning permission and the commencement of development. Once development has started and permission has been deemed implemented there is no further expiration date.

If you have not yet applied for planning permission but plan to do so it’s advisable to read the Addland guide on how to apply for planning permission. This guide provides valuable pre-application advice, including a detailed explanation of the planning process, associated fees, the planning application form and the decision-making time frames.

Can Planning Permission Be Extended?

Prior to 2013, if your planning permission had expired, you could apply for a renewal. However, the rules have changed, and now if your permission is about to run out you have two options; apply for a new permission or ensure your current permission remains valid by implementing planning permission before it expires.

If you decide to apply for new permission, it means allowing your current permission to expire and starting from the beginning of the planning process. While this may seem daunting you will already have drawings, surveys and additional information from your previous application.

This should make the process simpler and quicker although there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive planning permission again. It’s important to note that you should check for any changes in your local planning policy that may have occurred since your last application.

If there are changes you may have to make some adjustments to your plans to fit the current guidance. Otherwise, a planning officer may reject your application.

The second option is to keep your planning permission alive by implementing it. Planning permission is considered “implemented” once the earliest “material operation” involved in the development begins. You can hire a construction crew to implement it or you can do it yourself.

By implementing the planning permission before it expires you can keep it valid and avoid going through the planning process again.


It’s important to familiarize yourself with the national planning policy framework and how it affects local planning policy. This will help you make informed decisions regarding your planning permission and ensure that you are following the appropriate guidelines.

What Happens If Construction Takes Longer Than I Thought?

If your construction project takes longer than expected, it is important to remember that you only need to begin construction within the 3-year time frame.

One of the “material operations” listed above needs to be fulfilled before the 3-year mark in order to continue building and complete the project at any point in the future.

To avoid disappointment, it is recommended to apply for a certificate of lawful development from the council to confirm that the “material operations” meet the threshold for completion.

Construction delays are common due to adverse weather or supplier issues which can not only slow down progress but also affect your budget. To mitigate these risks, it is suggested that homeowners have a 10% contingency fund to avoid running out of funds on site.

Therefore, if you experience unexpected construction delays, it is important to ensure that you have met the “material operations” threshold within the 3-year time frame and have a contingency fund in place to avoid any potential budget issues.

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