Every house that is built in the UK needs planning permission. When looking for a building plot there are three types of planning permission, outline, detailed and full.
OPP are the basic details such as the type of building you want to build and in what location along with some basic plans. Should the this be approved in principal you can then go on to apply for detailed planning permission within 3 years.
Detailed planning covers detailed designs and the finer details such as the materials of the building, the landscaping of the property and so on. Construction must begin within 2 years.
Full planning permission is a combined application of outline and detailed planning. If there is a likelyhood that it may be rejected it can be wise to submit a full application to cover all details and any doubts the authorities may have. Full Planning Permission is valid for five years.
For further details regarding planning permission visit the Government's planning information site - Planning Portal, or contact your local planning department.