Wealden District Council
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Do I Need Permission

The information below is designed to give you information and guidance on how to find out if you are likely to need planning permission.

You can find out whether your home improvement or large scale commercial project needs planning permission by using the Planning Portal for information on common projects.

Permitted development rights

If you live in a house, you can make certain types of minor changes to your home without having to apply for planning permission.  These are called permitted development rights.  However, other works and alterations may require planning permission.

In some cases, “permitted development” rights can be removed through conditions of earlier planning permissions on a property.

The Planning Portal Interactive Guides which can help you to find out about permitted development limits. You can also view the published Technical Guidance on permitted development rights for householders by the government.

The General Permitted Development Order 2015 provides more information on Permitted Development Rights in Parts 1 and 2 of Schedule 2.

There may be constraints affecting your property which could reduce or remove permitted development rights, for example if you are located in a Conservation Area an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or your property is a listed building.

Note that irrespective of whether planning permission is required, approval under Building Regulations may be required, as they are two separate matters

Q. Do I need planning permission?

A. This will depend on:

  • the scale and location of the proposed works or development
  • the planning policies related to the application site.

We recommend you visit the Planning Portal which provides extensive general advice on the need for planning permission. Users can access an interactive house, a list of common projects and more to support the submission of a planning application.

Q. What documents do I need to make a planning application?

A. Take a look at our validation guide to submitting applications before making a planning application.

Q. How do I apply?

A. The best way to apply for a wide range of planning permission is online, using the Planning Portal which will allow users to complete the relevant form, attach documents and submit payment. Users can also apply online to discharge a condition.

If an application cannot be submitted online, users will be able to download and print paper forms for submission from the Planning Portal website.

Our preferred method of application is online through the Planning Portal which is easy to use.

Using the Planning Portal will save the user the cost of agents or other advisers. It may take time to apply, but you can save your work and come back to it at any time.

Q. How much will my application cost?

A. The cost of an application varies. See the list of fees online .The Planning Portal also have a fee calculator which can be used to determine the cost of an application.

Q. Can I get pre-application advice?

A. Yes – you can discuss your proposals with our team through the  pre-application planning advice service before you submit your application.

Q. Why do I need to pay for pre-application advice?

A. The cost of pre-application advice is based on daily rates for officers, including overheads incurred by the council. The exact cost depends on the scale of the application and the resources required.

The fees cover our costs for providing the advice. If we did not levy a charge, the cost would have to be met by council taxpayers.

Q. Who is consulted about a planning application and what does that mean?

A. Consultation is an invitation to anyone who may be interested in the application to comment on it. We must allow at least 21 days for responses.

Depending on the type of application, we may consult in the following ways:

  • a site notice
  • a press advert
  • a weekly list

We may also write to other council departments, amenity groups, or bodies such as the Environment Agency or Historic England for their views on a proposal.

Our statement of community involvement gives more information about our consultation standards.

Q. How do I comment on a planning application?

A. For further information on how you can be involved in the planning process visit our dedicated webpage.  

Q. When should I submit my comment by?

We must receive your written comments within 21 days of the start of the consultation period.

Q. What comments are taken into consideration during a consultation?

A. We can only consider planning comments about:

  • design and layout
  • external appearance and materials
  • access for disabled people
  • loss of daylight, sunlight and privacy of neighbours
  • noise nuisance
  • traffic and parking issues
  • loss of, or an increase in, a particular type of use of land.

Further information can be found on our how you can be involved in the planning process pages.

Q. Can I make amendments once my application has been validated?

A. If your scheme only requires relatively minor changes to make it acceptable, negotiations may be undertaken to obtain satisfactory amended plans. A number of factors influence this judgement although the primary ones are:

If the proposal is contrary to policy and it is unlikely that negotiations could overcome this or if the scheme is sub-standard (for example owing to density, design or highway reasons), the case officer will progress your application to a determination without conducting negotiations. The reasons for refusal will advise the applicant/agent of which issues were considered to be unacceptable.

Q. How long will it take to make a decision on a planning application?

A. We aim to determine most planning applications within the statutory time periods – usually 8 weeks (or 13 for major developments and 16 for EIA development) from the date of validation.

Most applications are decided by planning officers under delegated powers, but in some cases may be referred to the Committee. Planning committee meetings are held every month. 

If we need extra time we will contact you to agree an extension of time. 

Q. Once an application is made to discharge conditions attached to a planning permission can I add to or revise the information?

A. We will progress the applications for the discharge of conditions on the basis of what we have received.

Q. What are reserved matters?

Reserved matters relate to design, external appearance, siting, means of access and landscaping for the erection of new buildings, where outline permission has been granted. Conditions attached to the permission may require other details to be approved e.g. materials, but only those in the five categories mentioned are reserved matters.

Q. When can I start work once a decision has been made?

A. You can start work either when you have received planning permission from us or, if the permission includes details to be approved by condition, once those details are approved. Your decision notice will outline any conditions that need to be discharged prior to any commencement. 

Q. What if I am unhappy with a planning decision?

A. If we refuse permission or impose conditions we will give you the reasons. If you are  unclear about the reasons for refusal or the conditions imposed you can read the officers delegated report which is published online and provides the context for the decision.

Only applicants have the right of appeal.

If you are the applicant, you can appeal against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate. Their website has appeal forms.

You can appeal against:

  • a refusal of planning permission
  • conditions attached to a planning approval
  • a decision not being made within eight weeks of our receiving a valid application (this is known as a deemed refusal and we advise you to contact the case officer before you make an appeal of this type)
  • an enforcement notice relating to unauthorised development.

Q. Where do I find professional help?

A. The Planning Service is here to help and advise you through pre-application planning advice, but if your project is complex or controversial, or involves particular design or conservation expertise, you may want a professional to act for you. We are unable to recommend a particular professional agent but recommend that you seek advice from appropriately qualified professionals. A list of professional bodies is below:

Planning Aid England offers planning advice and support to individuals and communities.

This list is not exhaustive and other professionals may be able to help you.

If you do engage an agent, all correspondence and enquiries will go through them and they will receive the decision notice.

We will assume your agent has advised you about the risks that may arise if you do not follow our advice. Your agent should also be able to advise you about the foreseeable issues associated with your proposal. So, if you have any problems with your application, please contact your agent.

Q. How do I find out if a building is listed?

A. You can find out if a building is listed by visiting the Historic England website.

Q. How do I find out if a building is in a conservation area?

A. Please check on our conservation areas page for further information.

Q. What does  “use class” mean?

A. The planning portal provides a detailed explanations about use classes. 

Q. What is the difference between planning and building control?

A. Planning looks at the use of the land and decides whether the proposed building work can go ahead and in what capacity.

Building control is concerned with the technical side such as making sure building regulations are upheld and public safety is maintained.

More information about building control can be found on the East Sussex Building Control Partnership website.

To find out if your property is in a Conservation Area, AONB or designated as a listed building you can use Wealden Online Mapping.

You can also search the planning register to check the planning history of your property.

Annexes are typically occupied by members of the family, visiting friends and carers whose main occupation is to care for the occupant/s of the main dwelling house.

An annexe that will be occupied independently and have no relationship that is ancillary and incidental to the main dwellinghouse will require planning permission. This includes situations such as: a family member living in it independently from the main dwelling, renting it out to someone, or using it as a holiday let.

The key distinction is if the person/s occupying the annexe have no clear ancillary and incidental relationship with the main dwellinghouse permission will be required.

You also cannot build a new outbuilding in the garden of a house for use as an annexe under permitted development, even if it would meet all the other normal criteria of Class E.

Some existing buildings within the curtilage of a dwelling may be able to be converted into annexes without planning permission.

If you are unsure about what can and can’t be carried out, you should submit a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development to formally confirm this.

Independent residential occupation of a caravan/mobile home always requires planning permission.

Use of a caravan or mobile home as an annexe may not require planning permission if it is:

  1. Within the domestic curtilage of a dwellinghouse
  2. Its use is solely for purposes ancillary/incidental to the residential occupation of the main dwellinghouse. This would include ancillary residential accommodation, but would not include independent residential accommodation.
  3. The caravan would need to fall within the definition of “caravan” in the Caravan Site and Control of Development Act 1960 (as amended).

Information relating to highway and other transport advice is available on the East Sussex County Council website  which includes parking standards, transport assessments and travel plans.

Dropped kerbs

If you would like to lower the kerb outside your property you need to apply for planning permission if

  • Your road is classified as A, B or C
  • Your property is divided into flats
  • Your property is in a conservation area and you’d need to remove a gate pillar, wall or fence that’s over one metre high
  • You need structural work to make the parking area

Under Part 2, Class B of the General Permitted Development Order, planning permission is only required if the road is a classified road or a trunk road. Check what class your road is by using the ESCC adopted road checker

Roads classified as D need to gain permission from East Sussex County Council as the Highway Authority but do not normally require planning permission.

You can apply for planning permission via the Planning Portal which also includes details of fees and charges

It may be possible to convert your garage under permitted development.

Firstly, you should check if your permitted development rights are intact, and that there are no specific restrictive planning conditions relating to the garage use or removing your permitted development rights.

A restrictive planning condition is something that is placed upon planning approvals and can be found on the Notice of Decision attached to the approval. It is advisable for you to check any planning permissions that have been granted for your property and obtain copies of the Notice of Decisions to ensure that your permitted development rights are intact and proposed use has not been restricted before you commence any works.

It would then be advisable to check the householder technical guidance to see if you comply with the Permitted Development criteria – Class A will be applicable for attached garages, and Class E for detached garages. For formal confirmation you should submit a Certificate of Lawfulness Proposed Development.

If you are intending converting your garage for business use, it will normally require planning permission and you should apply for a change of use using a full application or apply for a Certificate of Proposed Lawful Use or Development to check whether permission is required.

If you want to know more about whether the Council is is likely to grant planning permission further information is available on our Pre-Application Advice page

Pre-application advice is provided by planning officers employed by the council helping you to understand how we are likely to determine any subsequent planning application, and any changes that are likely to be needed, if any, to give your scheme the best chance of being granted a planning permission.

The service of an experienced planning agent, surveyor, architect, or planning consultant may help you refine your scheme in line with the Council’s polices and guidance.

Planning Aid  provides free, independent and professional help, advice and support on planning issues to people and communities who cannot afford to hire a planning consultant. Planning Aid compliments the work of local authorities but it is wholly independent of them.

Visit the Planning Portal’s Interactive House to determine whether planning permission is needed for various domestic renewable energy installations (for houses only).

In addition the General Permitted Development Order 2015 provides more information on Permitted Development Rights in Part 14 of Schedule 2 Classes A-I which relate to Domestic premises.

Solar panels and equipment installed on domestic buildings and land are usually considered permitted development which means that planning permission is not required.

You will need to apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning permission (houses) to install a solar panel when any of the following apply:

  • It would protrude more than 20cm from the external surface of the wall or roof slope, when measured perpendicularly
  • The highest part of the solar panel or equipment will be higher than the highest part of the roof. This excludes any chimney
  • It would be installed on a wall in a conservation area which faces a highway. This includes roads, paths and public rights of way
  • Your house or flat is a listed building, or within the curtilage of a listed building. Curtilage means within the garden or grounds

If your house or flat is a listed building you must also apply for listed building consent.

For stand alone solar panels on domestic premises (panels not on a building), you need only apply for full planning permission (flats) or householder planning permission (houses) to install a stand alone solar panel when any of the following apply:

  • More than one stand alone solar panel would be installed.
  • It would exceed 4m in height.
  • It would be located 5m within the boundary of the property.
  • It would be installed within the curtilage of a listed building. Curtilage means within the garden or grounds.
  • In a conservation area, any part of the solar installation would be closer to a highway than any part of the house. A highway includes roads, paths and public rights of way.
  • The surface area of any stand alone solar panel will exceed 9m² or any dimension of its array (including other equipment) would exceed 3m.

To obtain confirmation that you do not require planning permission you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to prove an existing or proposed solar panel is lawful.

You will need to apply for building regulations if installing a solar panel on your roof.  The strength of the existing roof will need assessing.  To ensure it can carry the weight of the panel.  You may need to do some work to strengthen the roof.

Building Control also apply to other aspects of the proposed work such as electrical installation.

You may require planning permission to run a business from your home. You should submit a Lawful Development Certificate for this to be formally considered as each case is different.

You should include as much detail as possible regarding the proposed business – for example, what the business is, opening hours, whether you have clients or customers coming to the house.

During construction the temporary stationing of a caravan on site would need to be for persons involved in the works and not just the owner of the land/dwelling. If you are involved in a build it remains possible to maintain a caravan on site for the duration that the build takes place, removing and restoring the land once the build has been completed.

You must ensure that no associated works that might otherwise require planning permission (such as provision of a hard standing for the caravan) are carried out.

For formal confirmation that planning permission is required for the provision or use of a caravan a Certificate of Lawful Development should be submitted.

Use Classes are important when completing a ‘change of use’ application

Most land and buildings in England are categorised depending on their purpose or use and these categories are set out by the use class order.

Whenever you are thinking of creating, changing or demolishing buildings or land it is important to understand what use class they fall under. This also applies if you are changing how a building or land is used (for instance, turning a residential property into a business) but not necessarily making physical changes.

It is possible to change use between some classes without having to make an application for planning permission.

The Planning Portal Use Classes provide a useful list of the various use classes. 

The relevant building regulations also need to be considered for any proposed change of use.

A Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) sometimes referred to as a certificate of lawfulness allows us to assess your proposal and provide you with a decision notice stating if the works are lawful or unlawful under permitted development. This application is optional but can be helpful for your peace of mind and house records.

The best way to apply for a wide range of planning permission including an LDC is online using the Planning Portal which will allow you to complete the relevant form, attach your documents and submit your payment.

There is no statutory consultation requirement for a certificate application as it is a technical assessment against the permitted development criteria only.