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Making a planning application

Pre Application Advice

Should you wish to contact the Planning Department for pre-application planning advice relative to a specific site, it is hoped to encourage all such enquiries to be made in the first instance by email.

Your email is required to include the following information and ideally titled under the following headings to ensure a fuller response can be given:

  1. Full contact details, including a telephone number and e-mail address;
  2. Description of the proposals;
  3. Explanation of the proposals and what you are trying to achieve;
  4. Site location plan and site layout;
  5. Sketch drawings including elevations and floor plans (if applicable);
  6. Description of the site (including its existing use) and any particular site characteristics, e.g. level changes;
  7. Details of any known planning history;
  8. Photographs of the site and immediate surroundings;
  9. Any known constraints to development; and
  10. Technical studies (if available), e.g. ecological or traffic impact assessments.

Further advice can be found within the Pre-Application Guidance Note.

Accordingly your enquiry should be directed to our generic email addresses either or, depending on the location of the site (please see Planning Officer Area map). Your query will be allocated to an officer to respond in due course.

Please note that due to current staff shortages and work levels there may be a delay in providing a response to you by this avenue, so it would be helpful if the Planning Office was not contacted in addition to your email to check on the progress of the query. Further, in terms of officer's time, priority will be given to dealing with planning applications over other queries and pre-application enquiries. Your query will be dealt with as soon as possible.

This arrangement will continue for the foreseeable future so please do not disregard this advice in respect of further enquiries.

Completing the application form

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that a planning application is completed honestly, accurately and is accompanied by all appropriate details, plans, certificate/statement of ownership and (where required) fee. 

A planning application must make intention proposed by the application completely clear to any person reading its content, including the layman. Accordingly an applicant may benefit from recruiting the services of a qualified professional (architect or engineer) to assist them in the compilation of their application. 

If upon receipt, an application is proven incomplete, it will be returned to the applicant or their agent with a request that the missing information is provided. Or, should detail be later established as missing, determination will be delayed or the application refused as incomplete. 

A planning application must consist of 4 copies of the application form together with a checklist, and be supported by 4 copies of all plans as required by statute. Where an application may be for replacement windows, an application and supporting drawings plus two additional copies are required. The supporting documents are listed under Article 4(1)(a), Schedule 1, of the Town and Country Planning (Development Procedure)(No2) Order 2013.

Requirements can be defined as follows:

  • site plan* - showing the layout of the site and its boundaries
  • location plan* - showing the location of the land to be developed in relation to neighbours/streets etc
  • all drawings to detail the footprints and elevations as required (existing and proposed showing any impact against neighbouring buildings)
  • if the site is sloping, a cross section showing its impact on the hillside should be provided
  • any engineering or environmental submissions should be furnished
  • the correct fee. An up to datefees schedule is included in the Town and Country Planning (Application and Appeal Fees)(No.2) Order 2016.
  • if the building is registered, an application for Registered Building Consent must also be made.  Please see our Registered Buildings page for further information.
  • Certificate O1 as the statement of the land owner – copy downloadable to the right – must be included to validate the application.
  • A certificate of ownership in support of an advertisement application (Application for express consent), requires an ownership Certificate O2, however this will be issued by the Department for completion by the applicant once the application has been validated
  • A Certificate O3 is required as a statement of ownership in support of a Registered Building Consent application.

*Maps to provide these plans are available from the Department of Infrastructure which is the custodian for the Island maps (not Ordnance Survey).  

In all instances the application will be scanned for the benefit of planning public services upon receipt

Once validated, two application copies are retained by the Department, one for public scrutiny and the other as a working copy. The other copies are sent to Department of Infrastructure Highways Services (located at the Sea Terminal) and the relevant local authority. 

See downloadable documents for a guide to making a planning application. 

In addition to completing the relevant paperwork, applicants or their agents are required to advertise the application at the site of the proposed works. The advertisement is undertaken by way of a site notice issued by the Department once the application has been validated. The Notice is issued with a request that it is placed where it can be read from the nearest public highway to the site of the application for a minimum of 21 days. Also the Department requires that a copy of that notice is furnished to the landowner or the occupier/tenant (if not the applicant) and to the relevant local authority for their own purposes. 

The Directorate will endeavour to make a decision on the majority of applications within 8 weeks of the application having been validated. However, this will depend upon the nature and complexity of the application. Some applications will take longer to consider and further information or amended plans may be required

And then all is ok from the sentence starting ‘Please note’ until this bit

Application for Express Consent to Erect an Advertisement

An application for express consent (for the erection/placement of an advertisement) should be submitted on the form in the downloadable documents. All such applications must be supported by the following:

  • site plan - layout of the site and its boundaries
  • location plan - showing the location of the land to be developed in relation to neighbours/streets etc
  • details and dimensions showing the advert/signage intended.
  • The appropriate fee.

Legislation is different for an adverts application whereby the application should be submitted without a certificate of land ownership statement. The statement will be issued by the Department on validation of the application and will require completion and return for the benefit of the application file.

Where the applicant is the land owner the Ownership statement O2 may be submitted with the application form. Where the applicant is not the land owner they will be provided with a site notice upon validation of the application. That site notice must be copied to the land owner and on doing so the Ownership statement completed and returned to the Department.

Application for Certificate of Lawful Use or Development

An application in this category is made seeking to regularise use, development or operations which have been conducted in excess of 10 years (for a use), and 4 years (for development).

An application for a certificate must be supported by whatever evidence the applicant may have to prove lawfulness. The extent of that proof is for the applicant to ascertain. Failure to provide sufficient and conclusive proof will result in the application being declined.

An application and its supporting evidence, plus two full copies must be provided.

Please be aware that where a certificate may be declined legislation does not allow any appeal against that decision.

For an application form, see the downloadable documents.

Registered Building Consent

Where a building is protected by entry in the Departments protected buildings register, any development or works proposed to the building (external OR internal) must first be supported by Registered Building Consent. An application for such consent must be made on the appropriate form (see downloadable documents). Where the works proposed areinternalonly the application, its supporting plans and three complete copies must be provided to the Department (one copy is conveyed to Manx National Heritage).

Where the works proposed are external, whilst four copies the application form is required only three copies of the supporting plans and documents are needed, along with a separate and independent application for planning approval and its supporting plans. In this instance, only a copy of the Registered Building Consent application form will be conveyed to the Local Authority along with their planning application copy. 

An application for Registered Building Consent must also be supported by a land ownership statement – (certificate O3 in the downloadable documents)

Link with Building Control/Regulations

In many cases, building regulations approval will be required in addition to planning permission. Both are distinct and different areas of control but both (with exception to Douglas and Onchan which have their own Building Control authority) will be handled by Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, Planning and Building Control.

Please note that where the Department handles both applications the administration team will compare both sets of plans to ensure that any built structure is erected in accordance with both permissions given.

Planning and Building Control archive searches

Advocates acting on behalf of a client when handling a property conveyance will by practice contact Planning and Building Control seeking investigation of the planning and/or building control history of a site, relating to any work which has been carried out (if any).

Planning and Building Control searches are based upon provision, by the applicant, of a defined site area (the subject of the purchase and its immediate proximity) and a fee. Staff of the Department will then interrogate the Planning and Building Control database for that area to formulate the results.

For Planning, search results will reflect electronic data back to 1984. If the search omits electronic copy of planning conditions prior to 2000, the Advocate may need to consider more detailed investigation in order to clarify the potential for earlier restrictive planning conditions. Possibly requiring a manual investigation of the Department’s microfiche (in case of any historic/perpetual conditions).

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT OWNERSHIP OF ALL PRE 1984 PLANNING APPLICATION FILES were formally transferred to Public Record Office with effect from August 2015. Searches as to planning information prior to 1984 should be directed to that office.

Any Building Control detail is presented on what records the Department may hold (some gathered from historic management by Local Authorities). This includes electronic detail, and where available information from historic card indexes.

A search is carried out for a fee (three options - see Search Form available /media/1347662/planning-building-search-request-form-form-srch4-i.pdf ). The result will inform the client that all proper permissions are in place (or not) and the history and potential development for the buildings in the proximity. Advising of:


  • any planning history back to and including 1984, including approvals and refusals
  • Planning conditions back to 2000 where we have them electronically. Earlier where they are electronically available (Please note that conditions prior to 2000 will need to be retrieved manually by the recipient)
  • planning history of properties in the immediate proximity (dependent on the area defined by the party requesting the search)
  • if the property is within a conservation area
  • if there are any planning enforcement issues on the subject property

Building Control

  • if there is a Building Control history for the property; and
  • whether Building Control completion certificates have been issued on the subject property in compliance with Building Regulations

Building Control is regulated by the Department for the Island with exception to the authorities of Onchan and Douglas.

Advocates (or interested members of the public) may apply for such searches, using the required form and including the appropriate fee.

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