Planning permission is required for most forms of development. The definition of development is "the carrying out of building, engineering or mining or other operations on, over or under land or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land."
As a general guide, planning permission is required for most forms of development, which means not only physical operations such as building work, house extensions and garages, but also changes of use such as changing a house to a shop. In addition, the council’s consent is usually required to demolish buildings within conservation areas or for altering listed buildings. The felling of trees or tree surgery works where they are within a conservation area or subject to a preservation order, the removal of some hedgerows and the display of certain advertisements also require the council’s approval.
However, there are a number of minor buildings that do not require specific planning permission and these are referred to as "permitted development." These generally allow domestic properties and certain other properties to be extended within prescribed limits, provided that specific criteria are met. The Use Classes Order also groups various uses together and provided that the existing use and the proposed use are in the same class, permission is then not usually required for the change.
If you are unsure as to whether works you propose need planning permission, the council will always provide advice to those who are contemplating development. It is always advisable to complete the planning questionnaire "Do I need Planning Permission," which is available below, and officers will be able to advise if the proposal requires planning permission. No charge is made for this advice.
If planning permission is required, you will be advised and you will be encouraged to discuss your proposal with a planning officer on an informal basis. These pre-application discussions will provide you with an indication of the likely outcome of your proposal and will provide advice on the information that your application should include, so ensuring it can be determined in the shortest time. Pre-application advice is informal and it will sometimes be subject to consideration by the planning committee.
Even if planning permission is not required, most building work requires approval under the building regulations. You should contact the Building Control Officer to find out if you need to submit plans. Planning permission does not confer any approval required under Building Regulations and vice versa.