There are two basic types of planning permission: Outline planning and full or reserved matters permission.
Outline planning establishes the principle of development on the site and you can reserve matters for future approval including access, layout, scale, appearance and landscaping.
Full permissions or reserved matters permissions – this is for the detailed description and is needed before you can legally commence the development, but before, you will need to discharge the planning conditions allocated to the permission.
A good starting point is the adopted local plan for the area. You can review this on the council’s website. It will let you know if you are in a settlement boundary, whether the site is allocated for development and things like green belt, conservation areas and the like.
You also need to find out if the local plan is being amended as designations can be changes through the local plan process.
You should consider appointing an architect or planning consultant to advise you on your prospects and the key issues that relate to your site and the type of development you envisage.
You can also seek pre-application advise from your local planning authority, but some councils charge for this advise and it is a good idea to check first.
This will give you a reasonable idea of the chances of you getting planning permission, but it is informal advice and does not bind the council.
First you need to decide what you are going to apply for planning for.
In any planning application you need to decide on the use you are applying for and the quantum of development as these can’t be reserved for future approval.
The good way to do this is to get your architect to draw up a number of options for the site so you can assess what you think will work best for you.
One – Check you can access the site for the intended development. If the access is tricky use a highways consultant.
Two – Employ a good architect who’s experienced in the type of development you have in mind. Poor design is a reason for refusal.
Three – Have a “planning strategy” and think about employing a qualified town planning consultant who can guide you through the process and can structure your application to give you the best chance of success.
Four – if you are refused, don’t just give up, see if you can amend the application to address the issues for refusal or consider making an “appeal” to a planning inspector.