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How to get maps for a planning application

5 Jul 2011
Ordnance Survey
Using GI and maps
land and propertyplanning permission

Updated March 2020.

All at sea about getting hold of maps for a planning application? Well we thought it would be useful to provide a quick guide to help make sense of it all.

Whether you’re building a house or an entire housing estate, all planning applications need a map called a ‘Location Plan’ showing the proposal in its surrounding context. Some local authorities might also require a ‘Block Plan’ (sometimes called a site plan) which outlines the development in a larger scale, but not necessarily in greater detail.

If you read the guidance on the Government’s Planning Portal, it’ll tell you that these plans should be based on an up-to-date Ordnance Survey map so that the planning authority can be sure they meet all the necessary requirements.

Submitting an inaccurate, out-of-date, unlicensed, or incorrectly displayed plan is the most common reason for an application being turned down. Getting it wrong will cost you time and money so there is every reason to get it right first time.

So  here’s a checklist to make sure your maps are up to muster…

Site Location Plan

  • Should be at an identified standard scale (normally 1:1250 scale for urban applications or 1:2500 for rural or larger applications)
  • The direction of north must be clearly marked
  • The plans should be accurately scaled to fit A4 or A3 paper.
  • Should show the date of survey or an Ordnance Survey licence number if appropriate and the date of purchase
  • Should show enough roads or buildings on the land surrounding your application
  • Should show the application site boundary outlined in red indicating the extent of all land necessary to carry out the proposed development, including the land you need for site access.
  • A blue line should be drawn around any other land owned by you as the applicant, close to or next to the application site.

The Block plan

The Block Plan should again be drawn at an identified standard metric scale (often 1:200 scale or 1:500). It should show the proposed development in relation to the site boundaries and other existing buildings on site with the dimensions specified including those to the boundaries.

It should also show the direction of north and include the following, unless they would not influence or be affected by the proposed development;

  • All buildings, roads and footpaths on land adjoining the site including access arrangements
  • All public rights of way crossing or adjoining the site
  • The position of all trees on the site and those on adjacent land
  • The extent and the type of any hard surfacing
  • The boundary treatment including walls or fencing where this is proposed.
If that seems like a lot to get right (and it is!), then there is a simple way of making sure you have the correct maps. You can either order through an Ordnance Survey Mapping and Data Centre, or through one of the approved planning map providers.

Each of the Mapping and Data Centres are equipped with dedicated IT systems, linked directly to our database here in Southampton. This ensures they have access to the most up-to-date mapping available so you know you’ll end up with a map that is currently licensed and importantly meets all the planning requirements.

Our advice is don’t run the risk of your application being turned down because you used the wrong map.

There is a lot of other useful information on planning applications on the website, and on the Planning Portal, including guidance on when a planning application is needed and how to fill one out, as well as a tool for locating your local planning authority.

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey
Press Office

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