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Why is gaining planning approval proving to be so difficult?

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

EHP Consultancy


Portfolio for legislative and regulatory compliance, commercial knowledge, operational and strategic governance & management in children & social care UK




Why is gaining planning approval proving to be so difficult?


The main question at the early stage is whether the proposal is a ‘development’ requiring

planning permission from the Local Planning Authority or whether a ‘Certificate of

Lawfulness for a Proposed Use or Development’ (A CLOPUD) is appropriate instead. The

latter is only relevant where the proposal would be ‘lawful’ in planning terms (and hence

does not require the submission of an application to the Local Planning Authority) on the

basis of it not amounting to ‘development’ at all in planning terms (or where the proposal is

‘development’ but such is nonetheless covered by a certain permitted development right.  



Importantly, a planning application is assessed in terms of the planning merits (and harms)

of a proposal against the adopted Development Plan and other material considerations (e.g.

amenity, highway safety), whereas the sole remit of a CLOPUD is to assess whether the

propose use is lawful or not in planning terms (e.g. if a stated proposal does not amount to

development it is lawful and the certificate will be issued). The ability to not bring planning

merits into the assessment of a case is the main reason why applicants will use a CLOPUD

over a planning application where there appears to be a good chance of success. The test

with a CLOPUD is whether the proposal is lawful ‘on the balance of probabilities’ and to

succeed the submitted evidence must be ‘precise and unambiguous’.



However, a ‘good chance of success’ for approval based on a CLOPUD alone is becoming

increasingly difficult – and a full planning application is now normally required. At EHP

Children’s Home Consultancy we work alongside your planning consultant to prepare your

planning submission. This document includes all the operational material and detail that

should satisfy both your local council – and local residents.


Is your consultant ‘horizon scanning’ to keep your potential business up to date with legal and regulatory developments?


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