Do I need planning permission?

Find out whether you need planning permission for your proposal and what to do next.

We cannot answer this question over the phone or by email because it takes time and further detail to assess this properly.

Follow the advice below and if, after reading this you are still unsure please use our pre-application enquiry service.
Some minor works can be carried out without requiring planning permission subject to certain conditions and limits, this is known as permitted development rights (PD).

The Planning Portal common projects section contains over 50 specific guides that explain these conditions and limits to help you work out whether planning permission is needed. You are advised to read this information in full whether you are a householder or a business or are simply checking if someone else should have applied for their works.

If the works are not within permitted development you are likely to require planning permission.
In addition to the Planning Portal advice you will need to check for any local area/individual property restrictions.

If your property is affected by any of the following your normal permitted development rights may be restricted or withdrawn. This means you may need to submit an application for work which normally does not need one:
It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building (including buildings and structures attached to or within its curtilage) without consent. If the proposed works fall under 'permitted development' they will not require planning permission. However any proposals to alter, extend or change a listed building requires listed building consent. This also applies to structures attached to and in the curtilage of a listed building.

Listed building consent is dealt with under legislation that protects the listed building, its setting and its architectural or historic interest. This applies equally to the interior and the exterior of the building. Read further advice on our listed building page.
PD rights are removed within all 69 conservation areas in Northumberland. If your property is within one of these you may have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one. So check if your property is in a conservation area on our interactive map and read further advice on our conservation areas page.
This is usually applied over an area, and works by removing permitted development rights on certain types of minor alterations or extensions. It only usually relates to parts of a building facing a street or public footpath, but can cover the rear of buildings or developments such as sheds. This means you will need to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one.

Article 4 areas only exist for:
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed,
  • Blyth (Bath Terrace),
  • Holy Island,
  • Longhirst and
  • Whalton.
You can check if your property is affected by Article 4 (2).
Three areas have been designated as ‘protected landscapes’. PD rights are more restricted in these areas.

Any works within the Northumberland National Park should be checked with the Northumberland National Park Authority rather than us.
The Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are managed by us.

Check if your property is within any of these 3 areas by entering your postcode in the constraints checker (look at both the Conservation and the Environment section).
Some trees are protected by tree preservation orders. In addition, in conservation areas trees with a stem diameter greater than 75mm or more when measured at a height of 1.5 metres from ground level are protected. In these cases an Application for Tree Works will be required. If you are unsure whether a tree you intend to prune or fell is protected please email planning@northumberland.gov.uk with the full postal address and a plan showing the location of the tree(s).  

5 Day Notice
If the tree is dead or imminently dangerous, a formal application is not required. At least five working days written notice must be given prior to the works taking place, which should include details of the location of the trees and an explanation as to why the trees are imminently dangerous, or information to show that they are dead. Photographic evidence is also useful in assisting with these types of notices.

On receipt of a notice, an officer will undertake an assessment. Confirmation will be made in writing to the applicant to confirm whether the works can be carried out under this process. To submit a request under a five day notice
please email planning@northumberland.gov.uk
You will also need to check if certain works to your property are restricted by conditions on earlier planning approvals.

Use our public access system to do a
property search, check the property history for previous planning applications and read all the conditions on the original or subsequent decision notices to check if any permitted development rights have been removed. For example, advice on permitted development rights might state you don’t need planning permission for a new window as long as it is of similar appearance to those already used on the property, however a condition shown on a decision notice for a previous application might state ‘no extension, enlargement; or other alteration of the dwelling shall be carried out without the prior written consent of the Council’. If this is the case you will need to apply for planning permission.
Once you have checked whether your project is permitted development and if any local restrictions apply you can decide what to do next.

If you are still unsure, the only way to obtain advice from a Planning Officer on whether or not your works require permission is to submit a pre-application enquiry. A Planning Officer cannot answer this question over the phone or by email because it takes research and further detail to assess this properly. The timescale for a ‘do I need permission’ pre-application enquiry is 15 working days and costs £30.

If you are satisfied the works fall within permitted development and no other consents are required then you can start work.  If you would like formal confirmation you can apply for a lawful development certificate to us.  If granted, the certificate means that enforcement action cannot be carried out against the development referred to. This is a legally binding document which may be required if you come to sell your property in the future. The timescale for this is 6 weeks. The fee is half the normal planning fee (£103 for a householder).​

If your project does not fall within permitted development you will need to apply for planning permission. Read further information on the planning process.
Use our pre-application service for ‘detailed advice’ to find out if your planning application is likely to be supported (and reasons why) also, what may be done to make your scheme more acceptable.
Whether or not you need planning permission you should be aware that you may need additional consents not dealt with by Planning Services:
  • Building regulations approval, as this is different from planning permission and is dealt with by a separate Building Control department within the Council. The common projects section of the Planning Portal does also explain where building regulations apply. 
  • Rights of way: Permission may be required from the Council to build over/across or modify a public right of way.
  • Permission to drop a kerb and or widen a drivewayEmail Highways Development Management to discuss your intentions first as they can also advise on the need for planning permission.
  • Works to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings may require a Party Wall Agreement from all adjoining owners.
  • Covenants and private rights such as restrictions in the title to your property, conditions in the lease or access over land you do not own can be checked by a solicitor.
  • Building over water/sewerage systems may require agreement from Northumbrian Water.
Further consents are explained on the Planning Portal.