Planning permission

The Council has recently reviewed its position as far as it relates to informal planning advice, particularly as far as it relates to giving advice on the need for planning permission on householder developments. Until recently the Council offered this service for a small fee. The advice however was not legally binding.

From the 1 Nov 2016, the Council will no longer offer this service. We advise however that should a definitive legally binding decision be required on whether a householder proposal requires planning permission or not, a Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development under the Town and Country Planning Act 1991  [as amended] should be applied for. This legally binding certificate is often a requirement of lenders before funds are released.

What is planning permission?

Planning Permission is a legal document that allows a specific development to be carried out at a particular site. It is issued by the Council as a result of a planning application having been submitted and the proposals being found to be acceptable.

Planning permission is attached to the land itself rather than to the applicant. The work can be implemented by anyone, not necessarily the person who applied for planning permission in the first place.

There are several types of planning application, including Outline Planning Application and Change of Use. In addition, there are several other types of permissions associated with planning, that are specific to trees, advertisements, listed buildings and conservation areas. These are all basically similar and are all dealt with under the same system and are processed in the same way. The fees differ for each type of application and some are them are free of charge.

Who grants permission?

Most applications are evaluated by professional planning officers, who will either grant or refuse permission according to whether or not the proposal conforms to the regulations, accepted policy and guidelines. Less straightforward applications are decided by the Planning Applications Committee. In rare cases, the Department for Environment becomes involved.

The application and decision process flowchart [pdf document]

Do I need permission?

Planning permission is required for most forms of development. New buildings, extensions, material changes of use of buildings or land and the demolition of dwellings are all classed as 'development'.

Please note that minor works to dwellings in Northgate Conservation Area are restricted by an Article 4 Direction.

Planning applications received by the Council for domestic schemes will be processed on the basis of planning permission being required for the specified works. The Council will not consider within this process specifically whether planning permission is required.

More information

How to apply

You may make the application yourself following the guidance notes which are available from our office or viewable online. However, unless the proposal is very simple, it is advisable to seek professional advice. If you appoint a professional to deal with your application they are referred to as your agent and all correspondence will be with them during the time that the application is being processed.

You must submit your application on the forms, supply all the information required and sign all sections appropriately. There are guidance notes available for each type of form.

A site location plan and other plans and drawings are likely to be required. Normally, several copies of the completed form and plans are needed. The number of copies varies for different types of application. The requirements vary depending on the type and nature of the application. Most applications require a fee.

It is also possible to submit an application online through the Planning Portal [external link].

You should ensure that your application is fully complete (see Validation)

Please be aware that your application details will be made available for public inspection (see Publicity and Consultations).