Do I need planning permission?

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Householder pre-application advice

householder preapp

Date of last review: 12 May 2016

This section will direct you to where you can find out if you need planning permission and where to find guidance on permitted development.

Do I need planning permission?

Planning permission is normally required before most building works are carried out or changes made in the use of land or premises but certain types of work are covered by 'permitted development'. This means that they can be carried out without planning permission, so long as they comply with the permitted development rules and restrictions.

What are permitted development rights and how will I know if these have been removed from my property?

If you live in a house, you may normally carry out a number of minor forms of development without the need to apply for formal planning permission. This is known as ‘permitted development’. Permitted development limits are set by Parliament and apply nationally. This does not apply to flats or maisonettes, as they do not have any permitted development rights.

The planning history of your property must be checked before undertaking any external alterations, in order to determine whether permitted development rights have been removed by the Council as the Local Planning Authority on the original planning permission for your house. These rights will also be affected if the property has already been extended. 

This information should be with your deeds. If not, you can check the planning history and any decisions that relate to your property by using our Local Information Service.

Permitted development limits can also be affected depending on where you live. If you live in an Article 4 Direction Area, such as Fishpool Street, most of your permitted development rights will have been removed. 

Alternatively, if you live in a relatively new property, such as the Napsbury, Jersey Farm or Hill End/Cell Barnes Lane developments, permitted development rights may have been removed by a planning condition. 

Permitted development limits will also be different if your house is a listed building or you live in a conservation area.

Lawful development certificate - do I need one?

The only formal way that the Council can tell you that you do not require planning permission for a project is for you to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. The Government has recently issued some guidance for interpreting the legislation, Permitted Development Rights for Householders - Technical Guidance.

The Planning Portal has also produced a range of simple interactive guides to help you find out what you may be able to do without planning permission.  Just click on the relevant links below.

Interactive House

Common projects for detached or semi-detached houses
Common projects for terrace houses, flats and shops

Mini guides are also available on:

Loft Conversions,
, along with detailed advice on many other
Common Projects

Larger home extensions: Neighbour consultation scheme

From 30 May 2013, for a period of six years only, the Government has increased the size of single-storey rear extensions that can be built under permitted development, and has brought into force the associated neighbour consultation scheme. For further information on this scheme, please see our webpage Larger home extensions: Neighbour Consultation Scheme.

Please Note: This scheme does not apply to dwellings in conservation areas, nor does it apply to flats or maisonettes.

Change of use - permitted development

Most buildings have an established use and planning permission is often required to change this.  However, some changes of use are permitted development and in 2013 and 2014 the Government relaxed many of the restrictions on changes of use. Although planning permission may not be required, you may need to submit a Prior Approval application, for example if changing an office to a dwelling house. 

For further details please see the Planning Portal's guidance on Change of Use

Vehicle cross-overs (dropped kerbs)

If you are planning to form a new drive or widen an existing drive and in doing so you will be dropping the kerb, you will need to apply for planning permission if you live on a Classified Road. You can find out if you live on a classified road at the Gazeteer of Hertfordshire Roads.

You will also need separate permission for a dropped kerb from the Highways Authority.

Planning Portal

For comprehensive advice on all planning issues, please visit the Planning Portal, the Government's online service for planning. Here you will find all the information you need about the planning system, how to apply for planning permission and how to find out if you need planning permission.

Advice on specific planning proposals

For advice on specific planning proposals, please see our Pre-application Advice page.

Planning advice leaflets

The Planning and Building Control department has also produced a range of advisory leaflets, which can be downloaded from this website.  Printed copies are also available from our Customer Service Centre.

Supplementary Planning Guidance

The Council has also produced planning policy guidance on development in the Green Belt and on Affordable Housing.

Date of last review: 10 June 2016