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Do I need Permission?

Use the interactive house guide to help determine if you need permission.

Guidance for Planning Permission

What needs planning permission

New buildings, such as houses, shops or factories, require planning permission and so do many changes of use of buildings and land. Extensions to buildings may also need planning permission, depending on such matters as their size. The display of certain types of advertisement needs consent under the Advertisement Regulations. If you are in doubt please call us on 01304 821199.

Pre-application advice »

By using our Pre-application advice service we can let you know whether there are any issues that may prevent you from obtaining planning permission.

Change of use

Planning permission may well be needed if you wish to change the use of land or a building. For example, it will be required if you wish to convert your house into separate flats or an outbuilding into a separate home. You may wish to run a small business from your house, and planning permission may be required in some circumstances. Any change in the use of land unless it is to agriculture, almost invariably requires permission.

Is planning permission always needed?

General maintenance work

Normal maintenance work to the outside of houses, shops or factories does not need planning permission; nor is it needed for internal alterations or for most demolition work. However, there are exceptions to the rule.

Permitted development

Some building works of a minor nature can be carried out without the need to obtain planning permission - this is called 'permitted development'. Information on Common Household projects can be found on the Planning Portal. The rules governing 'permitted development' can change from time to time and they can be found in full in the latest 'Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order' copies of which can be obtained from H.M. Stationery Office. Advice will always be given by staff, and it is advisable to seek this as early as possible when you start considering undertaking any work.


Householder development

The Interactive House Guide provides information to householders on planning and building regulations for common household developments.

When asking whether or not permission is needed for a particular development, most or all of the following information will be required:

  • The address of the property
  • Whether the dwelling has previously been extended and, if so, by how much?
  • The type of house - is it terraced, semi-detached or a flat (extending a flat always needs planning permission)?
  • The size of the proposed extension (external metric measurements)
  • What type of roof will the extension have and will it be higher than the present house roof?
  • Whether the extension consists of only a dormer
  • How far will the extension be from the nearest boundary?
  • What size is the garden?

Neighbour Consultation Scheme

This scheme only applies to larger single-storey rear extensions.

To find out more about the Neighbour Consultation Scheme (for larger home extensions) please see the links below:

Amendments to planning applications following approval

There is nothing in law which permits the District Council to approve amendments to developments with planning permission. There is a serious risk that such 'approvals' will give rise to development which is effectively unauthorised and that complaints will arise accordingly.

While there is scope for very minor variations from a permission to be approved as amendments, most variations can be legitimised only following a further formal application.

The key issue is whether the amendments to the approved development are so minor in their nature that they do not materially affect matters of importance or need to be the subject of publicity or consultation. They may include changes which affect only the internal layout and changes to approved details pursuant to a condition.

Among factors that will determine that a fresh application is required are the following: 

  • The application site is of increased size or otherwise differs materially from the original application
  • The application’s description differs materially from the original application
  • There were third party comments on the original application which related directly to the part of the development to be amended
  • Any part of the development is to be materially increased in size in any dimension
  • Any part of the development is to be moved to a materially different location within the site
  • Any part of the development is to be materially closer to any boundary
  • The modified development will result in greater material intrusion
  • Changes are proposed to external detailing such as to materially affect the development’s appearance
  • Changes are proposed to windows or doors, such as to materially increase the risk of unacceptable overlooking

No amendments can be accepted in respect of Listed Building consents, however minor the change.


Contact the planning team

Telephone: 01304 872486

email developmentcontrol@dover.gov.uk