Prior approval means that a developer has to seek approval from the local planning authority (Sedgemoor District Council) that specified elements of the development are acceptable before work can proceed. The matters for prior approval vary depending on the type of development and these are set out in full in the relevant parts in Schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order. SDC cannot consider any other matters when determining a prior approval application.
Prior approval is required for some change of use permitted development rights. Certain other types of permitted development including the erection of new agricultural buildings, demolition and the installation of telecommunications equipment also require prior approval. The matters which must be considered by the local planning authority in each type of development are set out in the relevant parts of Schedule 2 to the General Permitted Development Order.
The statutory requirements relating to prior approval are much less prescriptive than those relating to planning applications. This is deliberate, as prior approval is a light-touch process which applies where the principle of the development has already been established. Where no specific procedure is provided in the General Permitted Development Order, local planning authorities have discretion on what processes they put in place.