Most new development requires Planning Permission. Each application for planning permission is considered carefully. Over 80% of applications are approved. There are pressures for change and new development is needed if modern facilities for shopping, leisure and businesses are to be provided. Allowing these developments has to be balanced against the need to protect our towns, villages and countryside. This protection ranges from keeping historic buildings and streets unchanged, preventing increased problems of noise, pollution and traffic congestion, or minimising the loss of scenic landscapes.

New buildings, major alterations and enlargements of existing buildings, and changes in the use of buildings and land are all considered to be "Development" and, therefore, need planning permission. Early on, when you are thinking of development, you should always ask at the Planning Office whether planning permission is needed. This is better than doing the work without permission and possibly having to remove it later.

New Buildings and Extensions
As a general guideline, if there is not already a building on a piece of land, then planning permission will be required to erect any new building on the site. If there is already a building and you wish either to extend it or erect another building on the same site then, in certain circumstances, planning permission may not be required. For example, you may be able to put up a low wall or fence, a garden shed or greenhouse, or a garage, without planning permission. You may also be able to extend your house, but the law relating to house extensions is fairly complex and there are limits on the size of extension allowed as "permitted development". When you ask at the Planning Office whether your proposed extension requires planning permission, they will need to know:

  • whether the house has already been extended;
  • the 'type' of house; whether it is a flat, terraced,
  • semi-detached or detached. (Note: extending a flat always requires planning permission);
  • the size of your garden;
  • the size of the extension and of any previous extensions;
  • its position in relation to the existing house and boundaries of any adjoining properties;
  • its distance from any garage.

This is not a full statement of the laws governing permitted development so you would always be advised to check with the Planning Office before beginning work.

Change of Use
If you want to change the USE of a building, then planning permission may well be needed before the new use is brought into operation. For example, planning permission is needed if you have a large house and want to split it up into flats. If you want to convert an old barn into a house, this is also a change of use and you will need to apply for planning permission. You may want to run a small business from part of your house, perhaps repairing other people's cars. This is also a change of use.
Again, it is advisable to check with the Planning Office early on.

General Maintenance Work
Normally, external maintenance work does not require planning permission; for example, re-painting, re-pointing brickwork, re-roofing. Also, planning permission is not usually required for the demolition of a house or for any internal alterations. However, there are exceptions to the rule. Listed buildings and properties within a Conservation Area are the most important exceptions. There are also some areas in the Borough where your normal 'rights' of 'permitted development' do not apply, as a consequence of what is called an "Article 4 Direction".

Seek Advice
The laws relating to planning permission are complicated and the Council's professional Planning staff will do their best to help you. Please take advantage of this service- it could save you time and money.
Advice leaflets have been prepared for the following matters:

  • General Guidance
  • House Extensions
  • Car Parking Standards

In addition, there are leaflets explaining the policies in some special areas of the Borough. Please ask to see if you area is covered by such a policy. You can discuss your proposals with the Planning Officer for your area before submitting an application. It is preferable for you to write, describing your proposals, and enclosing a sketch plan. You can also make an appointment to see a Planning Officer.
You should also check whether any other form of permission is likely to be required; for example, building regulations approval.

The Government has introduced planning controls over the demolition of certain buildings, these controls came into effect on 27 July 1992.

The Town and Country Planning (Demolition-Description of Buildings) Direction 1995 excludes the demolition of certain types of buildings from planning controls. These exclusions fall into four categories:

  • First, the Direction excludes listed buildings, buildings in conservation areas and scheduled monuments from the new controls. Such demolitions are already subject to control under other legislation (the Planning Listed buildings and Conservation Areas Act 1990 and the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979).
  • Secondly, demolition of a building of less than 50 cubic metres (when measured externally) is not to be regarded as development.
  • The third category of exclusion is of every building that is not either itself a dwellinghouse, or adjoining a dwellinghouse. The definition of a dwellinghouse should be taken to include buildings in use as a dwelling and those, if not currently in use, last used for such purposes. It includes detached, semi- detached or terraced houses, residential homes or hostels, and buildings containing one or more flats.
  • The fourth category covers the demolition of the whole or part of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure, unless in a conservation area.

The planning controls therefore apply mainly to the demolition of dwellinghouses and of buildings adjoining dwellinghouses. The demolition of buildings such as warehouses, factories, offices, churches, theatres and shops will not be subject to planning control unless they are attached to a dwellinghouse. The demolition of certain dwellinghouses may fall outside planning control if the residential use is ancillary to a non-residential use of the building or the site (for example, a caretaker's house on an industrial site, or a caretaker's flat in an office building).

For the purpose of the planning controls, each house in a pair of semi-detached houses and every house in a row of terraced houses is to be regarded as a separate building, whether or not in residential use.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 sets out the grant of planning permission for the demolition of all buildings not excluded from these controls by virtue of the Direction. However, in some cases, that permission may not be exercised until the local planning authority has determined whether it requires to give prior approval to the demolition.

Such determination is not required where demolition is:

  1. urgently necessary in the interests of health or safety, on a condition that the developer gives a written justification of the demolition to the local planning authority as soon as reasonably practicable alter the demolition has taken place; or
  2. taking place on land for which planning permission for redevelopment has been granted or deemed to be granted; or
  3. required as a result of a demolition order, made under Part Ix of the Housing Act 1985, or in a clearance area declared under Section 289 of the same Act; or
  4. required as a result of an enforcement notice issued under Part VII of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; or
  5. required as a result of an order requiring the removal of the building made under Section 102 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; or
  6. required by virtue of a planning agreement or obligation made under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; or
  7. required or permitted under any other legislation.

These permitted development rights do not affect, and are not affected by, any requirement to notify intended demolition of a building to the local authority under Section 80 of the Building Act 1984.


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