Do I need planning permission?

Planning permission is only required for a number of types of development. As a general guide, you need planning permission for new buildings, major alterations to existing buildings and to change the use of buildings or land.

If you live in a house or bungalow (not a flat) you may be able to alter, extend or improve your property in a variety of ways without needing to make a planning application. This is because houses and bungalows usually have permitted development rights.

Permitted development rights do differ in Conservation Areas. You can get confirmation as to whether your property is in a Conservation Area by emailing your address to [email protected]. We will try to respond within 10 working days from receipt of your email.

In some instances permitted development rights are removed by a planning condition or an Article 4 direction. Permitted development rights do not apply to listed buildings. It is important that you find out whether your property is affected. You can check if your property has had its permitted development rights removed by emailing us at [email protected]. Once you know what restrictions there are on your property, you can use the Planning Portal's guidance to find out more about your proposal:

  • Interactive guides - explore the interactive house, terrace or mini guides for popular household building projects including conservatories, extensions, loft conversions, outbuildings and porches.
  • Common projects - in this section you will find planning and building regulations guidance for many common building work projects for the home.

Larger home extension

If you can complete works prior to 30 May 2019, and subject to limitations on depth and height, a homeowner may build a larger single storey rear extension of proportions greater than the normal thresholds allowed by permitted development rights.

If you wish to use this mechanism, you must notify us and gain approval by submitting the Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension (PDF, 234.4KB) form prior to any works commencing on site. It is not possible to undertake this process retrospectively.

Further guidance regarding the sizes of extensions that may be constructed through this process are available on the Planning Portal website.

Works / uses not requiring planning permission

Some works / uses do not require planning permission. These can include:

  • Maintenance, improvements or other alterations inside the building (unless the works take place within a listed building);
  • Some works to change the way the outside of the building looks (unless the works take place at a listed building);
  • Changes of use within the same use class as the existing lawful use.

Taking the above information into account, if you consider the works/use does not require planning permission then you can make an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness. The information provided with the application is considered and if confirmed, the authority will issue a legally binding decision. This gives you certainty that your proposal does not require planning permission. In addition to the peace of mind it provides, it may be asked for by purchasers if you sell your property. We are not able to supply guidance on if a particular proposal will require planning permission.

If planning permission is required, you will need to submit a formal planning application for full planning permission.

You are responsible for establishing the necessary permissions, consents and approvals required. If you start work on property or land without obtaining the correct permission, you could be required to put things back to how they were.

Dropped kerbs

Planning permission for a dropped kerb to provide vehicular access to your property is only required if you live on a classified road. To find out if your address is on a classified road, please contact the Highways department at Northamptonshire County Council.

Depending on the location and construction, planning permission may be required to install or alter a driveway, irrespective of whether planning permission is needed for the dropped kerb.

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