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Do I need planning permission?

What is development?

Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, defines "development" as the carrying out of building, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.

Subject to certain exemptions as set out in the Act, all development requires planning permission.

If you have any questions please telephone us to make an appointment to see a planning officer. Please note that there may be a fee for pre-application advice.

Permitted development (PD)

The Government has made various exceptions to the requirement for planning permission for certain classes of development. This is known as "permitted development" and the rules are set down in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (GDPO) (as amended from time to time). 

From 30 May 2013 The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 came into force.  This amendment introduces a number of temporary relaxations and/or new procedures for householder extensions, schools, changes of use, extensions to commercial premises, and the removal of prior approval for telecommunications apparatus in conservation areas.

With regards to householder extensions, a quick guide to the rules on PD for householder extensions(opens in new window) can be viewed on the Planning Portal. Note: The introduction of increased depth allowances of 6 and 8 metre extensions require prior approval from the LPA.

From 6 April 2010, significant changes to non-domestic PD in relation to industry and warehousing, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals, office buildings, and shops were brought in. These amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2010 (opens in new window) can be found on the OPSI website.

From 1 October 2008, significant amendments to the GPDO came into force in respect of Part 1 householder permitted development (PD) rights. These replaced the PD rights for householders which had remained essentially unchanged since 1995. These amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2008 (opens in new window) can be found on the OPSI website.

In addition, from 6 April 2008 new PD rights (Part 40) were introduced in respect of the Installation of Domestic Microgeneration Equipment.

Quick guide

For guidance on whether or not you need planning permission for any householder related development, please view the Interactive House (opens in new window)on the Planning portal website.

There are always exceptions to these cases and, if you are not sure whether you need to get planning permission, it is strongly advised that you obtain a Lawful Development Certificate for your proposed development.

Please note that your PD rights may still have been removed by virtue of a specific condition attached to a planning permission, or by virtue of an Article 4 Direction attached to wider area. It is therefore advisable to check with the Planning Department first.

You do not have to be the owner of the property to submit an application, although you must notify the owner.


The new householder PD rights have been drafted somewhat ambiguously and are open to an element of interpretation. In the interests of consistency, the Hertfordshire authorities have agreed on its interpretation of the rules as follows:

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You need "express" consent from the local planning authority to display an advertisement unless it would fall within the "deemed" consent provisions (Schedule 3) of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 2007, or it would fall within 1 of 9 classes of development which are totally excluded from control (Schedule 2).

Classes of adverts excluded from control

The following are excluded:

Adverts on enclosed land (e.g. inside a railway station), adverts forming an integral part of the building's fabric, price tickets or markers and trade names on branded goods for sale, adverts relating to parliamentary elections, those required by parliamentary order, traffic signs, national flags and adverts displayed inside a building.

Deemed consent

The rules enable certain specified classes of advertisement to be displayed without application being made to the local planning authority. There are 16 such classes of outdoor advertisement. The rules on deemed consent are rather complex and cannot be set out here. For further details, please follow the external link to Outdoor Advertisements and Signs: A Guide for Advertisers (opens in new window). A hard copy of the guide can also be obtained from the Planning and Building Control reception of the Civic Offices.

Area of special advertisement control

The Advertisement Regulations allow local planning authorities to designate areas of special control orders for advertisements within those areas. Within Dacorum, an area of special advertisement control has been designated for all areas of the Borough falling outside the main towns of Berkhamsted, Tring and Hemel Hempstead. The effect of this order is that express consent is required for all forms of outdoor advert to which the deemed consent provisions would normally apply. For details of the precise boundary of the order, please contact the Planning department.

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Extensions of time periods and non-material amendments

Arrangements came into force on 1 October 2009 to enable the time period on planning permissions to be extended.

At the same time the procedure for making non-material amendments to planning permissions(for example changing the position of a window where there would be no overlooking issues involved or changing the external materials) was formalised. New forms and fees apply (opens in new window) and Guidance Notes (opens in new window) have been published on the Communities and Local Government website.

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Written confirmation (Lawful Development Certificates)

As the factors involved in the need for planning permission can be complex, and in many cases can involve the need for considerable research, we are unfortunately unable to give any written confirmation of this advice except by way of the submission of an application for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC). This will normally attract a fee of half the normal planning application fee but the decision on whether you do or don't need planning permission will be ultimately binding on the Council.

It is strongly advised that you obtain a Lawful Development Certificate to avoid any possible future embarrassment if it should subsequently be found that your development is not permitted development.

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