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.

Every proposal is different (design and location) so we must consider on a case-by-case basis which involves looking at the planning regulations, the land designation (conservation area, listed building etc.) along with the planning history as there maybe conditions that prevent certain types of development.

Follow the advice below and if, after reading this you are still unsure please use our pre-application enquiry service.

Please note: you may find this Glossary of Planning Terms useful.
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 website 'Common Projects' section contains online guides that explain the conditions and limitations 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. 

For extensions to your home you are advised to read the Extensions web page on the Planning Portal which explains the rules/allowances under permitted development rights. It also explains the further allowances and application process for rear single storey extensions known as Prior Approval - Larger Home Extension. Any extension over and above these allowances is likely to need Householder Planning Permission.

For any other changes select a guide for your project from the list below or view the full list of over 50 Planning Portal common projects If the works are not within permitted development you are likely to require planning permission. 

You may find this Glossary of Planning Terms useful as you navigate the Portal web pages. E.g. “Highway” – is a public right of way such as a public road, public footpath and bridleway. For the purposes of permitted development rights it also includes unadopted streets or private ways.

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If your property is affected by any of the following your normal permitted development rights may be restricted or withdrawn.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. Obtain an application form or read further advice on listed buildings.
Permitted development 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 view our interactive map to check if your property is in a conservation area.
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).
Please view the Trees and Hedges section of our website to find out what is meant by a protected tree, if your tree is protected and how to apply for any proposed works.
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.

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.  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 (e.g. £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.

If a development is carried out without the required planning permission or the conditions / approved plans have not been complied with enforcement action can be taken. Find out what enforcement action the Council can take or how to report a breach of planning control.
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.