Establishing whether planning permission is required for a proposed development can be complex. Planning legislation allows certain works to be undertaken without planning permission (this is referred to as 'permitted development'). However, there are lots of different criteria to check to establish whether permission is required or not.
Council officers can undertake this check for you and provide you with an informal opinion on the need for planning permission. A fee of £31.50 is payable to use this service.
The applicable form is available to download. Use the Householder Form for extensions and alterations to residential dwellings, and the General Form for all other proposals.
If you do not wish to use this service there are a variety of free sources of advice available to help establish whether planning permission is required. The Planning Portal is the Government's gateway to planning information throughout the UK. It includes lots of helpful information including an interactive house that can be used to help establish whether planning permission is required.
Alternatively your architect, or whoever is drawing your plans, may be able to provide you with advice on the need for planning permission.
It is also possible to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate from the Council to obtain a formal decision on the need for planning permission. The process requires the submission of plans, completion of application forms and the payment of a fee. The main benefit of obtaining a Certificate of Lawfulness is that you have formal proof that works are lawful, which can be of significant benefit when it comes to selling a property.