Outline planning permission is a type of planning consent that is subject to certain reserved matters. Examples include the design, appearance, or siting of proposed buildings.
This contrasts with detailed planning permission. An outline planning permission proposal would be put forward initially to see whether the local authority would be willing to grant planning permission for a specific development in a specific area. This might mean a single property on a plot or the intention to build a housing development in a specific area. It is the official equivalent of saying, ‘I’m thinking of building a house of this type here – would that be okay in principle?’
If the local authority says yes, you know there is a good chance you could get full planning permission for your project. If they say no, you can see whether any changes to the project might lead to the local authority changing their minds to say yes to the project. For example, a modern design for a house in a traditional area might be rejected, but a traditional design that blends in with the surrounding properties might be approved.
If you receive outline planning permission, you would then go ahead and provide a proposal for the property or properties and put that forward to the local authority. It is important to note that even if you gain the initial outline for planning permission, there is no guarantee you would receive detailed planning permission for the project. Certain elements may be required to be changed before approval is granted, or it could be rejected for one or more reasons.