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Your guide to making a planning application (Approval of Reserved Matters)


This guide is to help you make your application. Together with the other information provided in this page, it explains how to fill in the application forms, the information that you will need to provide and where to go for more help. We can’t cover everything in this guide, planning can be complex, so please contact us if you need more information or advice.

What is a reserved matters application?

Where outline planning permission has been granted, without details of some of the design elements of the proposal (i.e. access, appearance, landscaping, layout or scale) an application will be necessary to seek approval to these detailed matters. These are applications for Approval of Reserved Matters. Such an approval is not a planning permission in its own right but has to be read in conjunction with the outline planning permission. It follows that the details submitted must conform to the outline permission ie:

  • Cannot relate to land outside of the outline permission
  • Must not conflict with the terms or description of the outline permission
  • Must be submitted within the time scale set out in the outline permission

The development cannot be commenced until details of all outstanding matters have been approved.

When to use this form

This form should only be used for non-electronic submissions of applications for Approval of Reserved Matters. You will need a different form for full applications or applications for submission of details to discharge a condition. If you are not sure which form to use for your application, please contact us – we are happy to help.

Before you make your application

Pre-application advice can often help to resolve issues and save you time and expense. We offer a pre-application advice service to provide advice on policy and design issues. For pre-application advice it is expected that you will submit your proposals in writing, describing your proposals and the site with sketch plans and relevant photographs.

Appointments to deal with current applications need to be made directly with the case officer.

When approval is granted, it is on the basis of the detailed plans submitted. It is therefore imperative that you make sure that the details you submit are those that you want to undertake, as even minor changes from the approved plans can require a fresh application, which will be subject to exactly the same process as before.

Making your application

Applications may be made electronically via The Planning Portal. The benefits of submitting electronically are:

  • The Planning Portal will automatically check that you have completed all the necessary boxes and certificates. Your application is more likely to be right first time.
  • Your application will get to us quicker so we will start checking it sooner.
  • If you attach plans and documents, you will not incur printing and postage costs.
  • You will receive an email to say the application has been received by the council.

The Planning Portal website is:

Otherwise, it is important that an original and 3 duplicate copies of the application form, plans and documents are submitted. For larger or more complex applications, further sets of drawings may be needed for consultation purposes. We will let you know if we need more copies. In addition, if available, it would be helpful to receive an electronic copy of documents and plans.

Completing the Application form

The application form is designed to provide a base level of information about you and your proposal.

You may print the form and fill it in. Please ensure that you complete all of the questions.

Design and Access Statements

These statements help you to think about the best design solutions for your proposal and to explain how you have chosen the design which you submit. They are used by us to help assess your proposals. All outline planning applications require a Design and Access Statement. As Approval of Reserved Matters applications are not planning applications in their own right, there is no requirement for a new statement to support such an application. Instead, it would be useful to have the statement produced at outline stage updated to explain the detailed design aspects of the current submission.

For further information on writing a Design and Access Statement please go to the website for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) and look at their document “Design and Access Statements: How to write, read and use them”.


The fee that you will have to pay with your application is shown on the attached list of current planning fees. If you are not sure how much to pay, please contact us. Your application cannot be considered until the correct fee has been paid. Cheques should be made payable to North Northants Council.

Certain types of application and some circumstances do not require a fee. The details of exemptions and concessions are set out in the list of fees. Please tell us with your application if you think you don’t need to pay a fee and why.

Drawings and documents to accompany your application

In addition to the application form, you will need to submit plans and possibly other documents to describe your proposal and to explain how it affects or is affected by issues such as flooding, contamination etc. The circumstances when these documents are required are set out in the application form and in our “Local Requirements” which should be checked before submission of the application. This pack contains a bespoke list of “Local Requirements” relevant to this type of application. Failure to submit all necessary plans and documents will delay consideration of the application.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the consent of the copyright owner before you make copies of any plans.

You can buy copies of Ordnance Survey maps, to use as site location plans and block plans from us (telephone 01832 742100). You can also buy them from Ordnance Survey Siteplan agents. Unauthorised copying of these or other plans constitutes a breach of copyright, against which legal action could be taken.

Other consents

By completing the form you are applying only for Approval of Reserved Matters. In many cases, building works will also require Building Regulations Approval. This is the control of building works for fire resistance, structural stability, ventilation, thermal insulation and drainage. This application will be dealt with separately from any application submitted for Building Regulations Approval (which would involve additional forms, plans and fees). It is possible that planning permission could be refused and Building Regulations Approval given for a specific proposal (or vice-versa).

It is up to you to ensure that you have All necessary consents before starting work. You can speak to someone about Building Regulations by contacting the Building Control Helpline on 01832 742139. Granting consent does not give you the right to enter land or carry out work on land that you do not own. Consent is only the approval of your proposal by the Council as Local Planning Authority, further consents may be needed in order to comply with covenants contained within your Deeds or to comply with the Party Wall Act. You will still need to obtain the landowner’s permission where necessary. This is your responsibility. It is always a good idea to talk to your neighbours about your proposal before submitting your application.

Contacting Development Services

  • Our address is Development Control, North Northamptonshire Council Thrapston Office, Cedar Drive, Thrapston, Northamptonshire NN14 4LZ
  • Our Telephone number is 01832 742143
  • Our e-mail address is

The Customer Service Centre at Thrapston is open during the following hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday.