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The Pros and Cons of the ‘Permission in Principle’ Planning Route


When it comes to obtaining planning approval for a construction project, the traditional route can be time-consuming and burdensome. However, a promising alternative known as "Permission in Principle" (PIP) has emerged as a streamlined approach to speed up the planning process. In this post, we will briefly explore the pros and cons of the Permission in Principle route for planning approval, shedding light on its potential benefits and limitations for individuals, developers and local authorities alike.


Pros of the Permission in Principle Route:

  1. Expedited Process: One of the most significant advantages of the PIP route is its ability to accelerate the planning approval process. With PIP, applicants gain an initial indication of whether a proposed development is suitable for the desired site within a relatively short timeframe, usually up to five weeks, and the only requirements for submission are the application form and a suitable and compliant site location plan. This early determination can save both developers and local authorities a considerable amount of time compared to the lengthy wait in the traditional planning process.

  2. Cost Savings: Time saved translates into cost savings. Since the PIP route allows applicants to gauge the viability of their project before diving into full planning applications, they can avoid unnecessary expenses and extensive preparation required for the full planning application process. This means developers can allocate their resources more efficiently and focus on projects with greater potential for approval, and those looking to build their own dream home can have certainty that their savings will not be wasted on uncertain applications

  3. Focus on Suitability and Viability: The PIP route puts an emphasis on assessing the suitability and viability of a development proposal on the chosen site. It helps identify potential issues or constraints early on, allowing developers to address them before proceeding further. This early assessment fosters better-informed decision-making and reduces the risk of investing in a project that may face significant hurdles during the full application process.

  4. Increased Housing Supply: PIP has the potential to expedite the delivery of much-needed housing projects. With a faster and more efficient process, developers can bring their residential projects to fruition sooner, contributing to the expansion of housing supply and potentially easing the housing crisis in certain areas.


Cons of the Permission in Principle Route:

  1. Limited Scope: One of the primary criticisms of the PIP route is its limited scope of application. Currently, PIP is typically reserved for minor residential developments, making it unsuitable for more complex projects such as large commercial developments or infrastructure projects. As such, developers with projects outside the residential sector may find themselves ineligible for the PIP route.

  2. Reduced Public Engagement: Some argue that the expedited nature of the PIP process may lead to reduced public engagement. Public input is a crucial aspect of the planning process, as it ensures that the concerns and aspirations of local communities are taken into account. The limited public consultation during the PIP route may, in some cases, lead to resistance or objections at a later stage when a full application is made.

  3. Uncertainty: The PIP route provides only a preliminary approval, leaving certain details open for further scrutiny during the full planning application stage. This introduces a degree of uncertainty for developers, who may have invested resources based on the PIP decision but still face potential challenges during the later phases of the process.



The Permission in Principle route for planning approval offers a compelling alternative to the traditional planning process, promising significant time and cost savings for individuals, developers and local authorities alike. By focusing on the suitability and viability of proposed sites for development early on, the PIP route enables better decision-making and the potential for faster project delivery. However, its limited scope, reduced public engagement, and uncertainties must also be acknowledged. As the system evolves, finding a balance between efficiency and thoroughness will be crucial to unlocking the full potential of the Permission in Principle route for planning approval.

If you are a developer, or an individual looking to achieve their dream home but are unsure if the sites you are considering are likely to achieve the Planning Permission that you need to secure investment or certainty in your goals, then why not get in touch to discuss what TFQ can do for you to maximise the potential of what you're hoping to achieve!


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