I believe that planning is all about the careful balance between the impact and the desirability of what you're thinking to do. Planning is all about how we plan for and make decisions about the future of our cities, our towns, and the countryside.
The local planning authority is responsible for deciding whether a development which could be anything from an extension on a house to a new shopping centre, whether it should go ahead.
As an example of an impact and whether something is desirable or not, it would not be a good idea to build a nightclub or a disco next to a retirement home, it would have an unacceptable impact. Therefore when balancing up the probabilities it would probably be refused, whereas building a nightclub on the high street would be more acceptable.
Careful and sometimes clever planning combined with a sensitive design and landscaping can make some developments acceptable where previously it would have thought to have been unsuitable. This is the reason why applications are considered so carefully by the planning officer. The planning system is needed to control development in your area.
But, you don't always need planning permission, in certain cases, developments can be done without the need for planning permission called permitted development. In actual fact that isn't quite true, everything requires planning permission. Whether you want to put up a gate, a garden fence or a flagpole, if you want to put a shed in your garden or park your car on your driveway, everything needs planning permission to some degree.
But because some operations of development are considered to be minor, as long as it complies with the limitations and conditions of the permitted development order then it's deemed to be permitted development and planning permission has been granted almost by default. I will talk about permitted development in more detail in further posts.