Residential planning

Once you have an idea of what changes you wish to make to your property, please use our interactive guides and examples of common building projects to help you find out if you need to apply for planning permission.


Common projects

If you are still not sure, we have produced self assessment forms below for you to use. If you can answer 'no' to all the questions and comply with all the conditions listed, then planning permission will not be required unless there are particular planning restrictions on your property. Details can be checked by viewing our online land charges map.

If you would like a legal determination confirming that the proposed work/development does not require planning permission you should complete an application for Certificate of Lawfulness as Proposed and submit the application along with supporting documentation and relevant fee to Uttlesford District Council London Road Saffron Walden Essex CB11 4ER or submit on-line at

Remember, that if you build something which needs planning permission without obtaining permission first, you may be forced to make changes later. This could prove problematic and sometimes costly and may even result in legal action to require removal of the unauthorised development.


Self-assessment forms and notes




Chimneys, flues, soil and vent pipes

If you live in a Conservation Area you will also need to apply for permission if the proposal would be installed on a wall or roof slope that fronts a highway and is either the principal or a side elevation of the house.

Self-Assessment Form for Chimneys, Flue, Soil and Vent Pipes (PDF) [336KB]


If you live in a Conservation Area, you will need to apply for planning permission before cladding the outside of your house with stone, tiles, artificial stone, plastic, timber, render or pebble dash.

Outside of a Conservation Area planning permission will be required if the materials used in any exterior work are not of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwelling house.

No self-assessment form


There are controls over hard surfaces such as driveways, aimed at reducing water run-off which contributes to flooding.  Planning permission will generally be required for the impermeable surfacing of front gardens of areas that are more than 5 square metres. Guidance in respect of the types of surfacing that are permitted can be found on the Communities and Local Government website.

No self-assessment form

Dropped kerbs and crossovers

Planning permission will not be required for a dropped kerb if the two criteria below are met:

  1. The access point is not onto an A, B or C classified road; and 

  2. The access is required in connection with other development that does not require permission (eg a residential driveway that is being constructed at the same time).

If you are unsure whether the road where you are proposing the dropped kerb is an A, B or C classified road then you should contact the Highway Authority 08457 430 430.

Irrespective of whether you require planning permission for a dropped kerb, consent will always be required from Essex County Council as Highway Authority for a drop kerb or pavement/verge crossing. An application will need to be made to the County Council for a licence to construct the vehicle access.

Please note that it is a requirement that the contractor undertaking the works has Public Liability Insurance to a minimum cover of £5 million and is accredited under the New Road and Streetworks Act 1991 to work within the public Highway.

No self-assessment form

Fences, walls and gates

You will need to apply for planning permission if any of the following cases apply:

  • If the fence, wall or gate  would be over 1 metre high and next to a highway used by vehicles; or over 2 metres high elsewhere; or

  • Your house is a Listed Building or is in the curtilage of a Listed Building.

  • Demolition or removal of a fence situated in a Conservation Area

You will not need to apply for planning permission to take down a fence, wall, or gate, or to alter or improve an existing fence, wall or gate (no matter how high) if you don't increase its height. In a Conservation area, however, you will need Conservation Area Consent to take down a fence, wall or gate where it would have required planning permission.

No self-assessment form

Internal alterations

Internal alterations do not require planning permission as they are not classed as development. Search Building Control applications consent may however be required, and Listed Building Consent will be required if your property is listed.  

No self-assessment form


You do not need to apply for planning permission for repairs or maintenance, including minor improvements, such as painting your house or replacing windows.   You also do not need permission to re-roof your house, however additions to the roof are treated as extensions (see below).

No self-assessment form

Extending and altering the roof

Do I need planning permission for my dormer window or roof extension? If you answer YES (to any question) you WILL require planning permission.

Self-Assessment Form for Dormer Windows and Roof Extensions (PDF) [264KB]

Extensions and additions

Do I need planning permission for my house extension? If you answer YES (to any question) you WILL require planning permission.

Self-Assessment Form for House Extensions (PDF) [333KB]

Outbuilding and structures

Do I need planning permission for my outbuilding? If you answer YES (to any question) you WILL require planning permission.

Self-Assessment Form for Outbuildings (PDF) [335KB]


Do I need planning permission for my porch, hard surface, chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe? If you answer YES (to any question) you WILL require planning permission.

Self-Assessment Form for Porches (PDF) [336KB]

Renewable energy microgeneration equipment

This form includes ground source heat pumps, water source heat pumps and flues for biomass heating systems or combined heat and power systems.

Self-Assessment Form for Renewable Energy Microgeneration Equipment (PDF) [311KB]

Satellite dishes

Normal domestic TV and radio aerials do not need planning permission. However in certain circumstances e.g. Heritage and conservation, you will need to apply for planning permission to install a satellite dish or antenna on your house.

Self-Assessment Form for Satellite Dishes (PDF) [314KB]

Solar panels

Do I need planning permission for my solar energy microgeneration equipment? If you answer YES (to any question) you WILL require planning permission.

Self-Assessment Form for Solar Energy Microgeneration Equipment (PDF) [317KB]


If the window projects beyond an existing wall (such as a bay window), this is treated as an extension and is subject to the same restrictions as Extensions and Additions.  If the window you want to insert is an upper-floor window in the side elevation of the house then it must be obscure glazed and non-opening (unless the opening parts of the window are more than 1.7 metres above floor level).

No self-assessment form

Working from home

You do not necessarily need planning permission to work from home. The key test is whether the overall character of the property will change as a result of the business. If the answer to any of the following questions is "yes", then permission will probably be required:

  • Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?

  • Will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?

  • Will your business involve any activities unusual in a residential area?

  • Will your business disturb your neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?

  • Will you need to extend your house specifically to accommodate the new business?

No self-assessment form