Rickitt Partnership

Planning application - What do you need planning permission for?

Have you ever wondering about the planning application process? What exactly do you need planning permission for? If you have asked any of these questions then read on as we have tried to demystify the whole planning process in our series of planning permission blogs.

When speaking to clients we are often asked about the planning process. As it can be a complex and often daunting process to follow are some pointers to help you head in the right direction. The first will deal with when you will require planning permission or building regulations approval.

Permitted Development:

Not all improvements to your home will require planning permission or building regulations approval so before starting your project it may be wise to contact your Council’s planning service for advice. Under The Town and Country Planning Order 2015 “Permiited development” means that some work on your home can be undertaken which either does not require planning permission or only requires “prior” notification.
For example, if you live in a terraced or semi-detached property (which is not within a Conservation Area and is not a Listed Building), permitted development rights allow you to extend the rear of your house by 6 metres - subject to certain criteria. For people living in a detached property the allowance is 8 metres. If you would like to do this you will need to apply to the Council for Prior Approval by completing a 'notification form for a proposed larger home extension'. The Council will then write to your immediate neighbours and give them at least 21 days to decide if they wish to object. If there are no objections then as long as an extension falls within the rules the Council is obliged to grant Prior Approval. If there are objections the Council will consider the impact of the proposal in relation to your neighbours and will either decide that the impact is acceptable and grant Prior Approval or take the view that the impact is not acceptable and refuse. There is a right of appeal against any refusal of a Prior Notification. Councils must issue a decision within six weeks, if they fail to do so then “Prior Approval” is automatically granted.
For more information on permitted developmentwww.planningportal.co.uk/info/200187/your_responsibilities/37/planning_permission/2

Pre-application Advice:

It makes sense (and can often save time in the long run) to contact your Council’s planning service BEFORE making a formal application. They will be able to advice as to whether your project does require a full planning application. You can contact them direct or you can use an architect or building surveyor to act on your behalf.
At this pre-application stage your aim should be to establish whether there are any designations affecting your property which could influence whether or not you will require planning permission. These could include:

  • The property is subject to an Article 4 direction removing certain permitted development rights.
  • The property is situated in a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Area.
  • The building is listed as being of Special Architectural or Historic interest


There may be a fee that you will need to pay your Council for seeking pre-application advice and the fees can vary from area to area so it is advisable to check the costs with your local Planning Authority. You should also be prepared to provide details about the design, size and position of your proposed project but these do not need to be as comprehensive as the documents required for the formal planning application.

Benefits of seeking pre-application advice:

  • Reduce the chance of submitting an invalid application
  • Understanding of local planning policies and how they may affect your proposal
  • You may receive informal advice from the planning officer about design, materials and scale to increase your chances of a successful application

Additional considerations at the pre-planning stage:

You may want to discuss your development ideas with your neighbours. This can save time and avoid delays further down the line as any concerns that they may have can be dealt with at an early stage.


If your property has a covenant restricting its future use this will need to be dealt with separately to any planning permission which has been granted as this is a legal issue. In some cases it may not be possible to implement the planning permission without the removal of a covenant. This would need to be done by agreement and discharged by the Lands Tribunal.

The Party Wall Act:

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 affects any building work on or near a boundary. You may need to seek professional advice from a surveyor, engineer or solicitor to help you work within the parameters of the Party Wall Act.

We hope you have found this guide to pre-planning application useful. The next blog in this series will cover Making a Planning Application.

Source: The Cheshire West and Chester Planning Guide

About the author

Danielle Mullen

Danielle Mullen

Danielle comes from a marketing and media background, with over 20 years experience in her field which includes tenures at a number of distinguished Cheshire-based magazines and marketing agencies.  Danielle has responsibility for marketing at Rickit…

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