6 Surprising Factors That Could Affect Your Application for Planning Permission

Undertaking a new development project can be a time for various mixed emotions. No two projects are the same, and seemingly similar plans can reach different outcomes due to multiple factors. Meaning that no matter how seasoned a property developer you are, due to how versatile real estate projects can be, you may encounter hurdles along the way that you may not have experienced before in other projects and vice versa. 

Some of the biggest challenges that property developers face can be uncovered during the planning permission process. As much as the development project itself, no two applications for planning permission are the same and can easily be affected by unforeseen circumstances that can hinder your proposal. Whether naturally occurring or not, unbeknown to most prospective property developers, multiple factors could affect your application for planning permission negatively. 

In this article, we outline a few of the most surprising factors that could affect whether property developers will have to apply for planning consent and the result of your application. For a more streamlined development process, prospective and seasoned property developers should consider the following factors before beginning any work: 

Your Neighbours 

Perhaps a more commonly known factor that could affect your planning permission application is your neighbours. Neighbours could be one of the leading causes for hindrance with your planning permission application since they will probably be more concerned about whether your proposed development will affect them or the area around their property. 

For instance, if your planned development involves a loft extension, your neighbours may be worried about it affecting the amount of light their property receives or if the extension will infringe on their privacy. Therefore, before you begin any work or start the application process for planning permission, we recommend being upfront with your neighbours about your plans and not hiding anything from them. 

Doing so will give them a chance to air out any worries they may have and for you to modify your proposal so that all parties involved are satisfied. Whether you will be required to take out planning permission or not, it’s well worth informing your neighbours as soon as possible because your local authority will ask for your neighbour’s views as part of the application process. 

Nature And Wildlife 

Another surprising factor that could affect your planning permission application is the nature and wildlife present in the area with the future development. Before you begin any work or start the application process, you’ll have to consider your proposal’s implications on the surrounding environment and its inhabitants. 

Not just wildlife can cause hindrance to your application, plants and other natural factors can also be bothersome for property developers as they may be protected under relevant legislation. To avoid any complications due to these factors, your local planning authority should be able to advise you further on any protected species or habitats that your proposal might affect.  

However, for expert advice, it’s recommended that property developers contact environmental specialists such Biodiversity Net Gain Plan. Ecologists like those mentioned earlier can provide property developers with expert advice concerning the environment surrounding their proposal. Plus, carry out various required surveys for planning permission acceptance and assess whether your proposal will have a positive ecological impact and how to avoid harm. 

For more insight about their surveys and how they could help your application process, consider looking at their website, following their blog or contacting a team member for further information today. 

Trees or Hedgerows 

Continuing our previous point, trees and hedgerows can also present problems for those going through the planning permission process. Depending on which area you intend to build your proposal in, there are various rules and legislations in place concerning trees and hedgerows. 

Conservation areas have special laws in place to protect trees. Still, generally, many trees are protected under tree preservation orders which means you need your local authority’s permission to prune or cut them down. 

In the UK, you can obtain this consent from your local authority. If you need further clarification, you can use the government’s website for helpful resources regarding the tree preservation order for your area. Alternatively, you can contact your local council for more information if you’re still unsure which trees or hedgerows you can or cannot make alterations to. 

Rights Of Way

Another consideration that you’ll have to think about before applying for planning permission is whether your proposed build could obstruct a public right of way or pathway that runs throughout your property, as this could affect your application process if this is the case. Even if you’re planning permission has been approved, it does not encompass interfering with, moving or obstructing public rights of ways. 

Before works can be done, an order will have to be made by the council scheduling the closure or diversion of the pathway, which will be advertised to the public and could be subject to objection. Until this order has been outlined, your development cannot go ahead, and you’re permitted to block any public rights of way. 

Historical Structures Or Monuments 

Although a little less commonly occurring, another surprising factor that could affect your planning permission application is historical structures, ancient monuments or anything of historical interest or significance. If your proposed development could affect a structure of historical importance, then you may find yourself presented with a couple of hurdles to leap over before beginning work. 

Suppose you’re unsure whether your development could affect existing historical structures or monuments. In that case, you should seek advice from the English Heritage or relevant body (depending on where you plan to build) as soon as possible for more advice. 

It is wise that you contact the relevant body as soon as you can, even if you’re not particularly sure if you’re proposed build would affect surrounding historical elements or not, as it is a criminal offence to damage a historical structure or monument. 


Adverts or signage can also be a surprising factor impacting your planning permission application. Unlike minor decorative signs, like one’s warning visitors about pets, etc., if you plan to display signage or an advert over 0.3 square metres, you’ll need to apply for advertisement consent. Temporary signs up to 0.6 square metres may be displayed for a short amount of time, but you can learn more from your local authority if needed.