Northern Ireland Planning Service

General advice: Types of applications

The types of applications are as follows:

Outline Permission

An application for outline planning permission establishes the principle of development and as such detailed plans will not normally be required although this is largely dependent on the nature of the application.
Once outline permission has been granted, you will need to apply for approval of the details (reserved matters) before work can start.
Outline planning applications can only be made when the proposal involves the erection of buildings.  Please note outline applications cannot be accepted for change of use developments.

Reserved Matters

Once your development proposal has received outline planning permission, a reserved matters application should be submitted to receive permission for the details of the proposal or 'reserved matters.'.
The reserved matters application should fully comply with all the conditions attached to the outline permission and should be submitted within 3 years of outline permission being granted.  
A reserved matters application will require the submission of detailed plans and drawings to include details such as the siting, design and external appearance of the development, the means of access to the development and landscaping of the proposal.

Full Permission

Full applications must be made for the following types of development:
  • Applications for retrospective planning permission;
  • For a change of use of land or buildings;
  • The carrying out of mining, engineering or operations other than building operations.
Full applications are also appropriate when the principle of the proposed development is acceptable in planning terms.  

How long does it take?

The Department should determine your application within eight weeks. Large or complex applications may take longer. The Department should be able to give you an idea about the likely timetable.
If your application is not determined within eight weeks, you can appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission.

Before submitting an application

Before submitting an application for planning permission reference should be made to 'Explanatory notes for applicants' and to the guidance provided on the Department's application forms to ensure that the correct forms, in the correct quantity and with the necessary details are provided.