Do I need planning permission?

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Where to start

With all building work, the owner of the property (or land) in question is ultimately responsible for complying with the relevant planning rules and building regulations.

Useful online resources for working out whether or not you need planning permission are:

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Things that may be important for planning

Whilst permitted development rights apply to selected groups of potential developers - such as householders, there may still be other restrictions imposed on specific properties that should be taken into account:

  • is your property a listed building? If so you should be especially cautious when planning to carry out works on their property, as undertaking unauthorised works to a listed building could be a criminal offence.
  • is your property is located within a conservation area?
  • is your property subject to an Article 4 Direction? This may mean that you have fewer permitted development rights than other properties nearby
  • have restrictions been placed on your property by earlier planning permissions?
  • if trees need to be removed or reduced are they protected trees?

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Doing work without permission

If you are confident that you do not need planning permission or building regulations consent you can start work without contacting us.

However if the works did need permission or approval and the matter is reported to us you may become the subject of a planning compliance or building regulations contravention investigation. This could ultimately result in a fine and/or us serving notice on you to remove the alteration and restore the property to how it was before you started. This work would have to be carried out at your own expense.

So, even if you are certain that the work you are undertaking do not need planning permission or building regulations approval, we recommend that you contact us to obtain written confirmation, if only for peace of mind.

It is also worth considering that should you ever come to sell your property, you may be asked to provide evidence that you did not need permission for the works.

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Get it in writing

We offer two levels of service to customers who wish to obtain confirmation that planning permission is not required for their proposed works:

Permitted development enquiry Lawful Development Certificate (proposed)

If you submit a permitted development enquiry a planning officer will consider the details you have submitted and respond with their professional opinion as to whether or not planning permission is required for your proposed works.

Whilst this is a relatively informal process the letter you receive should be sufficient for most purposes. However the opinions stated within the letter will not bind us as a Local Planning Authority in the event of subsequent enforcement action.

Please send your Permitted Development Enquiry with:  

  • a description of the works you are looking to carry out, this should include details of dimensions and materials being used
  • any sketch drawings or photographs you think may be of assistance. 

There is a fee of £25 for this service and the target response time is 21 days, for more information please refer to our fees and charges page. 

Please note this is not an application for "Prior approval"

This is a formal process through which the Council will consider your proposed development in detail and issue a lawful development certificate, stating whether or not planning permission is required.

The statutory timescale for dealing with an application for a Lawful Development Certificate is 8 weeks.

This certificate will have full legal weight and will be considered binding on the Council.

If we declare that your proposed development is not 'permitted development', you have a further right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate

Details of how to submit a Lawful Development Certificate, together with our fees and charges can be found on our apply for planning online tool.

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Applying for planning permission

If you know you are going to need planning permission or prior approval for your proposed development you have two options:

  • if you are unsure whether or not your proposed works will be granted planning permission and want further advice before submitting a formal application, you can prepare and submit a pre-application advice enquiry to us, or
  • submit your planning application for consideration. 

Please refer to our online planning and building application tool to determine which type of application you need to submit and what supporting documentation you need to provide to support your application.

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