Permission in Principle (PiP)

The current planning approach to brownfield sites with potential for housing is complex and often costly. This means that outline planning is normally applied for at some risk. However the new Permission in Principle (PiP) legislation that is coming into effect changes this.

Local planning authorities have until the end of year to publish a brownfield register. Part of this register will list sites where planners have designated PiP, this will clarify whether the land is suitable for housing led developments.

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Permission in Principle requirements

Local authorities are required to have regard to the development plan, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and material considerations in establishing whether permission in principle should be granted. The permission must state the amount of development expressed as a range, indicating the minimum and maximum net number of dwellings to be added.

Permissions in principle can only be granted for housing-led development and ancillary uses.


The brownfield land register must state the minimum and maximum number of dwellings and the description and scale of any non-residential development permitted. At this stage it cannot be subject to conditions.

What are the benefits of Permission in Principle?

Permission in principle settles the principle of development including its use, location and the quantum of development. Work cannot commence until a technical details consent is obtained and this requires an application to be submitted to the local authority to enable assessment of the detailed design and ensure contributions to infrastructure are secured.

Interestingly, additional legislation is expected before the end of the year to allow developers to propose PiP for non-major developments of fewer than ten homes. Architecture for London supports this new increased certainty at the start of the planning process and the opportunities for new housing.

Visit the Architecture for London architectural housing projects page to view our current housing projects.