Your trusted property experts

How Long Does Planning Permission Last?

Author avatar
Share Share article to LinkedIn Share article to Twitter Share article to Facebook

So, you’ve got a fantastic project in mind, and you’re ready to make some significant changes to your property. Before you get started, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of planning permission, especially how long it lasts. Here’s everything you need to know, so you can plan your project with confidence.

What is planning permission?

It is the formal approval granted by your local authority, allowing development or changes to your property. It ensures that your project complies with local development plans and building regulations.

How long does planning permission last?

In most cases, it is valid for three years from the date it was granted.

This means you have a three-year window to start your project. If you don’t commence the work within this period, the permission will expire. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

Find Architectural Services

Outline planning permission

If you’ve applied for outline planning permission, the duration may be different.

This is a preliminary step that establishes the principle of your proposed development, without providing all the specific details. Once received, you’ll need to submit a subsequent application for reserved matters approval. This includes the detailed design, appearance, and layout of your project.

Large-scale or phased developments

For more extensive or phased developments, the duration of planning permission may be longer. In some cases, your local authority may grant permission with a longer timeframe, typically five or even ten years.

This extended duration is usually specified in the documentation and is intended to accommodate the scale and complexity of projects.

Find Architectural Services

Listed buildings and conservation areas

If your project involves a listed building or is located within a conservation area, the permission duration might be different.

In some instances, the permission may be granted with a shorter timeframe, such as two years, to ensure that the proposed works are carried out promptly and minimise any adverse impact on the heritage asset or conservation area.

Conditions affecting how long planning permission lasts

In some cases, your planning permission may include specific conditions that affects its duration. For example, your local planning authority may require you to complete the development within a shorter timeframe or impose deadlines for specific stages of the project.

Review your documentation carefully and ensure you understand any conditions that may impact the duration.

How to extend

If you’re nearing the end of your planning permission period and haven’t started your project yet, you may be wondering if it’s possible to extend it. The short answer is: it depends.

If it hasn’t expired yet, you can apply for an extension through your local planning authority. However, your project’s specifics and any significant changes in local policies since the initial permission determine the chances of success.

If your planning permission has already expired, unfortunately, you’ll need to submit a new application and go through the entire process again. This can be time-consuming and costly, so it’s essential to keep track of its duration and plan your project accordingly.


Planning permission typically grants you three years from the date of approval, giving you ample time to initiate your development. However, depending on the type of permission, the scale of your project, or the location of your property, the duration may be different.

Always review your documentation carefully and consult with your local planning authority if you have any questions or concerns.

If you find yourself nearing the end of your planning permission period without having started the project, consider applying for an extension before it expires. Remember, they may not always grant an extension, so it’s best to take a proactive approach and plan your project timeline accordingly.

Understanding the ins and outs of planning permission duration equips you with the necessary information to confidently embark on your property development journey. This knowledge prepares you well to make your dream project a reality. Good luck, and happy planning!

Tune into our podcast “Planning Permission Explained” to find out more

Need architectural advice?

Find Architectural Services

Last Updated: August 22nd, 2023

Phil Spencer

Join Phil Spencer's 'My Move iQ'

Sign-up for FREE and access

FREE home moving toolkits

Exclusive offers and discounts

FREE tickets to the biggest property and home shows

My Move iQ Competitions

Unlock exclusive benefits

Browse more in this category: