Do I need Planning Permission?

Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without the need for planning permission under Permitted Development (PD) rights.

However, this may not be the case if your house has been extended in the past, or if PD rights have been removed. Even conservatories may need planning permission.

Examples of the type of proposal that, in most cases, need planning permission include:

  • a dormer window in the roof of your house facing a road, or if you are in a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • a two storey extension, or an extension to the front of your house, or to the side if it faces a road
  • a new access onto a classified road (‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘Classified unnumbered’, unofficially known as ‘C’)
  • if your permitted development rights have been withdrawn, common in more recently built houses

Planning portal website

The Planning Portal provides planning and building regulations information including:

  • interactive house guides to learn about planning and building regulations
  • help to apply for planning permission
  • help to appeal against a planning decision

Links to common householder projects providing planning advice can be found below. Interactive and mini guides and case studies providing specific information are also available.

The website also provides all of the resources necessary to submit planning applications.

Permitted development rights

Some types of work can be carried out to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called ‘permitted development rights’.

Whilst not compulsory, if you want to be certain that your proposal does not require planning permission, you can apply for a ‘Lawful Development Certificate‘.

You can apply through the Planning Portal online application service, and you will have to pay a fee.

Larger home extensions

PD rights for single-storey extensions have now been increased permanently from

  • four metres to eight metres for detached houses
  • from three metres to six metres for all other houses

If you wish to build a ‘larger’ extension under PD, you must notify us using the appropriate application form. There is no charge and we have up to eight weeks to decide if it complies with the regulations.

This does not apply where permitted development rights have been removed, if the property is located within a conservation area, AONB, or is a listed building.

Domestic solar panels

The installation of solar panels and equipment on residential buildings and land may be ‘PD’ with no need to apply for planning permission.

There are, however, important limits and conditions which must be met to benefit from these permitted development rights.

Details can be found on the Planning Portal website.

Commercial buildings

Most alterations to business premises need planning permission, including:

  • some shop and office extensions
  • alterations to shop fronts
  • external security shutters or grilles

Choosing an architect

We do not recommend architects.

However, by law, anyone who calls themselves an architect must be trained, qualified and registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB).

To help you choose, it is suggested you talk to other people who have employed the services of an architect, or look in paper or online directories of trade’s people.

The ARB have a register of qualified architects which can be accessed by visiting their website, emailing or by calling 0800 389 6221.

Land ownership and boundaries

The Land Registry registers title to land, and records dealings (e.g. sales and mortgages) with registered land.

The Land Registry can be contacted on: 0300 006 0411 (Monday – Friday, 8am to 6pm).

For more information about boundary, rights of way, access or land ownership issued, please call Surrey County Council on 03456 009 009 or visit their website.

New development in the green belt

We often get calls from customers who are being offered the ‘chance’ to buy a piece of land within the green belt, with a view to building a new dwelling.

Please be aware that the development of new dwellings within the green belt is contrary to national and local planning policies, and will not be granted planning permission.

Applying for a vehicle crossover or dropped kerb

It is an offence to carry out any works to the footway without permission from Surrey County Council.

Before applying, you will need to have either planning permission or a letter from us confirming that planning permission is not required.

Vehicle Crossover (Dropped Kerb) Enquiry ›