Finding out if you need planning permission

Permitted development allows householders to improve and extend their homes without the need for planning permission. Permitted development can also apply to commercial, business premises and land.

Permitted development rights are usually subject to conditions and limitations that control development impacts. These conditions and limitations must be met in bringing forward any development for it to be lawful. If development proposed does not meet with the conditions and limitations of permitted development, then it is necessary to apply to the Council (local planning authority) for planning permission.

Building without permission

If you build something that needs permission without first obtaining permission, you may be forced to put things right later. This can prove troublesome and costly. You may even have to remove any unauthorised work or stop a use.

In certain circumstances, such as unauthorised work to a listed building, a criminal breach has occurred. This can lead to prosecution.

Other things you need to consider

Building regulations

Even if your proposal is permitted development, you may still require approval under the Building Regulations. Although there are some exemptions to this, they are not the same as the planning permitted development rights. Find more information at Building Control - Dorset Council and LABC Front Door Website. Information on when you need Building Regulation Approval.

Nature and Wildlife

Even when your development proposal benefits from permitted development rights, the legal protections for wildlife still apply.  Animals, plants and habitats may be protected under their own legislation.  For more information see the Planning Portal website - Factors affecting planning permission: Nature and wildlife - Planning Permission.

Contact planning

See our contact details. It includes our response times and the areas we cover.

Where to start

The Planning Portal and Planning Guidance  has detailed information to help you understand the types of development that can be carried out without having to apply for planning permission.

Permitted development right for householders technical guidance also has detailed guidance about householder permitted development. 

Restrictions on permitted development

Sometimes permitted development rights are more restricted or removed. This means you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work where you may not need to in other situations. These include:

Listed buildings - if your property is a listed building you will require listed building consent before carrying out any type of work, internally or externally, even if your proposals are considered to be permitted development for the purposes of planning permission

Conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty - there may be greater restrictions on what is permitted development if you live within a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Check for planning history.

Check for article 4 directions and other Dorset planning constraints.

Prior approval 

Some types of permitted development require you to ask the Council for prior approval before you can build it. Prior approval is a formal submission to seek confirmation that specified parts of a development are acceptable before work can commence. 

There are several types of permitted development which require prior approval, including larger home extensions, agricultural and forestry development, demolition, creating and change of use to form dwellings, electronic communications, other developments, and temporary uses. Please see the planning portal for more information.

Pop up campsites – advice on planning rules for pop up campsites. 

Requesting confirmation that your proposal does not need planning permission

Certificate of Lawfulness

Request formal confirmation that your proposal does not needs planning permission by submitting an application for a Certificate of lawfulness proposed. If the Council is satisfied that the proposal meets the criteria of permitted development and any appropriate legal tests, it will grant a lawful development certificate. If your lawful development certificate is refused, you have the right to appeal against the decision.  To find out more and to apply for a certificate of lawfulness proposed go to the planning portal.  Find out what your application will cost

Informal advice about whether you need planning permission

The council offers an informal advice service that can tell you whether your proposal needs planning permission.  A fee applies, further details can be found in our planning fees and charges document.

Householder permitted development enquiry

Non Householder permitted development enquiry

Request pre application advice before you submit your application

There are different types of pre application advice available. The different types are based on the size of the application from simpler single household applications up to major applications covering many dwellings or several hectares (ha) or square meters (sqm).

If you need to apply for planning permission or prior approval

If planning permission or prior approval is required, our validation checklist tells you what we need to register your application. It will help you to make sure you give us all the information we need. 

Contact planning

See our contact details. It includes our response times and the areas we cover.