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Things to consider before making a planning application

Is planning permission required?

Most building work engineering work and use of land requires planning permission.

You don’t always need planning permission to extend your house, but there may be restrictions in place, including conditions on earlier planning permissions. It’s important to check before you start any work.

If your property is a flat or maisonette, is in a Conservation Area or is a Listed Building, you will need to obtain approval and apply for planning permission.

Some developments don’t need to go through the full planning process and are considered ‘permitted development’. If you think your proposals fall into this category, we recommend that you apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development Certificate.

The Planning Portal has useful guides for popular projects and links to an interactive house.

Engaging an agent

You may find it easier to use a professional planning or architectural agent to work on your behalf and submit your application. This is not compulsory, but they may have useful local knowledge to make the process easier. They will liaise with the Local Planning Authority and respond to technical questions.

Although we cannot give recommendations, you can find a details of agents.

You can also look at similar applications to yours using our online planning register and contact the agent who submitted the application. We cannot guarantee the service provided. 

A good agent will:

  • advise you whether planning permission is needed
  • give specialist advise on how best to meet your needs
  • prepare plans and have full knowledge of relevant planning policies
  • submit the application on your behalf
  • be fully insured and possess the required qualifications

Consulting your neighbours

If you are making a larger householder extension application, you are required to notify your neighbours and will need to confirm you have done so on the application.

For other applications, we recommend you discuss even the simplest household proposals with your neighbours. This can help highlight any potential problems and provide the chance to work through concerns. Often small changes can make a difference and help a successful outcome.

Checking for local or national constraints

We encourage you to check our interactive maps to find any potential constraints that may affect developing your property

If your project needs planning permission and you carry out work without it, you can be served an enforcement notice ordering you to undo or remove all the changes you have made.

It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without obtaining consent from us, even if you didn’t know that the building was listed.

If you are given approval for works you must comply with the document and carry out the development in accordance with the approved plans. If you wish to make changes, you must contact the planning team first who will advise on whether any further permission is required. Otherwise you will be in breach of the planning permission. This could lead to enforcement action to correct the work in accordance with the approved plans.