Applying for planning permission

Applying for planning permission

The coronavirus outbreak is causing unprecedented disruption to all council services including the processing of planning applications.

We are doing everything we can to keep the service running, however, the team is now working remotely and there will be no site assessments, site notice erection or face to face meetings until further notice. This will inevitably delay both the processing of and decision-making on applications. Applicants are being contacted to agree time extensions where appropriate.

In line with advice from the government’s chief planner we will continue to provide the best service possible and are prioritising decision making to ensure the planning system continues to function and supports the local economy.

The council has suspended normal elected member decision making processes to ensure that proper social distancing measures can be maintained. This means that the planning committee will not meet for the coming weeks and the opportunity for public speaking at the committee has been suspended. Instead, decisions will be taken by the development management and conservation manager or the assistant director for economic growth, and where appropriate in consultation with the committee membership.

Where possible, the team is responding to public safety concerns in relation to trees on private land.

Most types of development work will require planning permission - sometimes called planning 'consent'.

'Development' can include: 

  • building, extending or altering a house, garage, shop etc
  • changing the use of buildings or land (such as changing a business property to residential, or using land for a different purpose)
  • putting up walls, fences, or other structures
  • creating a new vehicle access to a property
  • making changes to a listed building
  • putting up or changing advertising signs
  • demolishing a building inside a conservation area
  • pruning or felling a tree that is protected or within a conservation area

These are just a few examples, there are many other types of development work that will also need planning permission.

What you need to know

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If you think you might need to apply for planning permission, it's a good idea to discuss your ideas informally with a planning officer before making your application; they can give you an idea of the likely outcome of your proposal. We call this 'pre-application advice'.

The planning officer will also give you advice on the information to include with your application so that it can be decided quickly. Pre-application advice is informal and it will sometimes be considered by the planning committee when they decide whether or not to approve your application. 

Some development, as long as it is not within a conservation area, can be carried out without the need for planning permission under 'permitted development rights'. 

Permitted development rights allow many properties, such as houses, flats, and some business premises, to be altered or extended within certain limits. This will depend on the history of the property, including whether it has been converted from business premises previously and whether it has been extended or altered before.

We may also have removed some of your permitted development rights by issuing an 'Article 4' direction. This will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally would not need one.

Contact us as early as possible to discuss the type of development you have in mind, we can let you know if planning permission is needed and tell you what you need to do.

The Planning Portal website has details of some common development projects with an indication of the type of permission required. Please note that this is an indication only and you should still contact us to find out if you need to apply for planning permission for your project.

If you carry out unauthorised work you could be fined and made to put things back as they were. 

Most building work requires approval under the building regulations, whether it needs planning permission or not. 

Planning permission and building regulations approval are completely separate, and getting approval for one doesn't mean you also have approval for the other.

Find out more here.

Development of your land or property may be restricted by a covenant in the title deeds.

A covenant is just a rule governing what can and can't, or must and mustn't be done on the land covered by the deeds.

This could mean that the original land owner/builder, or subsequent owners, have included a rule that affects what you can do with your property.

Common restrictive covenants include:

  • only one residential detached house is permitted on the land
  • any extensions or building works need to be approved (even if your property is freehold)
  • change of use to a business is prohibited
  • front garden to remain open plan (no fences allowed)

Other less common covenants:

  • property must not be used as a fish and chip shop
  • only one dog per property allowed
  • the front garden must always contain a tree

Check your title deeds for details of any convenants that are included before beginning your development. If you don't have your deeds you may be able to get more details from the Land Registry.

Last updated on 31 March 2021