Do I Need Planning permission?


Brightman Architects understands that building a house extension or a new home is a significant event in your life and that it can be stressful.  


What is a planning application?

Most new buildings, new houses and major alterations to existing buildings require planning permission.  In order to obtain planning permission you will need to submit a planning application to your Local Planning Authority, who will determine whether your proposed works are acceptable.

The Local Planning Authority are in place to manage and monitor the quality of new building work and assess your scheme against a large number of criteria to deem whether your application is approved.  Without this system, anyone could construct buildings or use a piece of land in any way which they wanted, with no regard on the effect this would have on the people who live and work in their area.

Find out who your Local Planning Authority is.


Do all types of building projects require planning approval?

No. Whilst all commercial projects and most residential projects require planning approval, there are some smaller works (such as a rear house extension) that you can do to your house that do not require permission under Permitted Development Rights, so long as they conform to a set of criteria.  Please note that not all houses have these rights in place. 

For more information, see our introduction to permitted development rights.

If you are unsure, it is advisable to seek advice from a professional, such as an architect or a planning officer who will be able to help you with your project.


What information will I need to submit a planning application?

If you are looking to make alterations to your existing home, or building a new extension or outbuilding, you will need to submit a House Holder Planning Application.  In addition to the completed application form (and signed certificates), you will be required to submit the correct fee payment, a valid site location plan, existing and proposed floor plans (including roof plan) and elevations for a standard project. 

If your house is located in a conservation area, an area of outstanding beauty, a National Park or is a listed building you will require a design and access statement as well.  This is a written document, normally produced by the architect, which accompanies and supports the application drawings to explain the design and how it is accessed.  Dependant on the size of project and its location, the design and access statement will include information and photographs on the existing site with sketches/3D visuals of the new proposal to support its case.

If your project is larger, such as a new build house, then you will require a full planning permission, which can often require additional information as part of the application.

Your Local Planning Authority will not validate (begin to assess) your application until they have all of the correct information.  Dependant on the size, location and complexity of your project, the planning authority may require more information to validate your application.  For example, dependant on its size and location, your project may need a flood risk assessment.  There are many other reports and assessments that may be required, such as ecological surveys, arboricultural surveys, wildlife surveys etc. 

It is always advised to appoint an architect as early in the process as possible to provide advise on what information will be required.  Often, not doing so can lead to delays and additional costs on your project.


How do I submit a planning application?

Application forms can be downloaded from your Local Planning Authority, or alternatively you can submit the application online via the Planning Portal.  This will require you set up an account and have an understanding of the planning system in order to submit the correct application, certificates and information.

As a standard part of our service, Brightman Architects will submit your planning application and coordinate all of the information on your behalf.  We will monitor the application, respond to any queries from the Local Planning Authority, and keep you updated with its progress to make the process as easy as possible for you.


How much do planning applications cost?

The cost of a full planning application can vary depending on the size of your project and how many houses/apartments you intend to build.  The cost of a new build house in England is £385.  The cost of a Householder application (for alterations and house extensions) is £172 in England.

Please be aware that larger projects may be granted planning consent with a set of pre-start planning conditions, which require further information to be submitted prior to work starting on site. Submission of this extra information to the planning authority will cost £85 per submission.


How long do planning approvals last for?

Once the planning application has been submitted, and validated by the Local Planning Authority, it will take the 8 weeks for the application to be processed.  Upon approval, the planning approval will be valid for 3 years (unless stated otherwise on the written consent).



For further informal advice and planning guidance, please feel free to contact us.


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