Producing a map for a Planning Application

Producing a map for a Planning Application

This tutorial relates to uses of Parish Online and XMAP within UK Local Government.


Local Councils may, on occasion, need to produce a Block Plan or a Location Plan as part of a planning application submission. This can be done in Parish Online without having to purchase mapping from other websites.

This tutorial shows you how to create as many planning application maps as you like, for free.

Important! Parish Online should only be used for producing planning application maps when the application is being submitted by the local council. It is illegal to use the mapping within Parish Online to generate maps for 3rd parties, including your own personal projects, for others or for businesses.


Step 1: Configure your map

Planning maps need to have a particular look and feel, so to get the best chance of acceptance you should do the following:

  • Make sure you've got"OS Premium Stack (Greyscale)" selected.

  • Switch off any map layers that are currently switched on. This includes the Parish boundary layer.

TIP: Once you've done this, you might like to set a Bookmark (Using the Bookmarks tool). This means you can quickly set Parish Online to how you need it the next time around.

Step 2: Drawing out the site outlines

To get started we need to draw out the site outline and any other boundaries we need to show on the map. To do this we're going to edit a layer that's pre-configured in Parish Online.

  1. Navigate the map to zoom into the area where you want to draw your planning application site boundary.
  2. In the left-hand Layer Control, find the "Planning" collection.Click the title to expand the collection.
  3. Find the "Planning Maps Outlines" layer and click the title to switch the layer on on the map.
  4. Hover your mouse over the tick icon to the right of the title. It turns into a Cog icon. Click the Cog icon to bring up the layer mini-menu.
  5. Click "Add Feature" from the mini-menu.
  6. Start clicking on the map to draw out the perimeter of the site. Each click adds more detail to the shape. Once you've come around to where you began, click over the position of your first pointand this will complete the drawing.
  7. In the left-hand panel, choose from the "Type" drop-down and select "Ownership Boundary".
  8. Optionally, add some text into the "Label" box. This will add a label onto the map. Note, this is not normally needed for planning application maps.
  9. Optionally add some text into the "Notes" box. This will not be shown in the resulting planning map, but can be used for future reference.
  10. Click the "Save" button in the bottom left. This will complete the drawing of the site boundary.
  11. Click the button at the top of the panel to close the Feature Editor.

Note: if you need to make any changes to this boundary, you can edit it. More information on editing can be found here

Step 3: Drawing out the planning application area or other detail

You may wish to add more drawings onto the map to represent buildings or other features. Follow the steps above, but when choosing the Type from the drop-down, choose one of the other options, such as "Planning Application area".

Step 4: Create your PDF map

Now we're ready to create our PDF map.

  1. Click "Print" from the top menu. This will load up the Print tool on the left-hand side.
  2. Click the "Template" drop-down and select "Planning Application".
  3. You'll notice that the map now has a darkened border to it with a lighter centre. The light centre is the area that's going to be included in the map. So now you'll need to pan and zoom the map so that your drawings are nicely centred within the light section of the map.
  4. As you zoom in and out you'll notice the extent of the light section changes. This is because it automatically chooses the most appropriate scale for that zoom. You can override this to set the scale of map you want. You can do this from the "Scale" drop-down where you can choose 1:500, 1:1,250, 1:2,500 and so on. If you want to specify your own scale you can select "Custom". Bear in mind that choosing a custom scale may mean your application is rejected, perhaps except for 1:200.
  5. Optionally, add a title to your map. This is usually not necessary for a planning application map.
  6. Click the "Print" button in the bottom-left. This will begin generating your PDF map and return a link for you to click to open the PDF in another browser tab.
  7. Once the PDF is open in a new tab you can download the map to your computer or sent it to a printer. Note: the options for this vary from browser to browser, just look out for a Printer and a Save button close to each other.

You've now produced your planning map.

You can go back to the Print tool and make adjustments as required, or produce more maps, such as a smaller scale location plan.


Are these maps guaranteed to be accepted by the Local Authority?

No, because we can't control the quality of what you draw on the map. But if you're using the planning template, the Ordnance Survey Premium background and the pre-built "planning outlines" layer and you have the correct scale set then you'll have a very good chance of it being accepted.

How much do these maps cost?

For a Local Council producing maps for the Local Council then it's completely free. Your council already has the map licence to use the data, so you don't need to buy these maps from another website. We don't get any more money from this, it's just a benefit of using Parish Online.

Can I produce planning maps on behalf of members of the public or staff members for personal projects?

No. That's a breach of the PSGA terms that grant you access to the premium Ordnance Survey mapping. These maps carry unique identifiers so misuse can be tracked back to the user who produced them.

Do I have to use the Planning Outlines layer, or can I use another layer or the Annotate tool to mark up the map?

No, you don't have to use the planning outlines layer, it's up to you how you mark-up the map.

Should I delete the boundary once I've finished producing my map?

That's up to you. It might be sensible to leave it on the layer for future reference. If it gets in the way of future planning map drawingsthen you can use the Filter tool to hide them.

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