Your guide to planning

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Do I need planning permission?

You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. This is known as permitted development. 

The Planning Portal sets out permitted development limits and building regulations for over fifty common building work projects for the home.

If you need us to confirm that your proposal is a Permitted Development, you will need to submit a Lawful Development Certificate (existing or proposed). Information is available on the Planning Portal - Lawful certificates webpage.

Please note: the fee for a Certificate of Lawful Development - proposed is £103 and a Certificate of Lawful Development - existing is £206.

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Can you give me any planning advice before I submit my application?

Our pre-application advice service aims to provide consistent and timely advice. This should reduce the risks involved in making a planning application. It can also help to reduce the time taken to progress an application through the formal decision making process.

Information and forms are available on the pre-application advice webpage, along with a list of fees for this service.

The residential extensions and alterations supplementary planning document (2011) which sets out guidance for householder extensions, may also be useful.

For help in submitting an application and for the supply of drawings (if required), see the Partner Agent List on the apply for planning permission webpage.

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How do I make a planning application?

You can submit a planning application via the apply for planning permission webpage.

 You can also apply using the Planning Portal - Applications webpage. If you choose this option, the correct application form will be selected for you. The Planning Portal website also allows you to securely submit and pay for an application online. 

The documents and plans required in order to submit an application can be found on the checklists for planning applications webpages.

For help in submitting an application and for the supply of drawings (if required), see the Partner Agent List on the apply for planning permission webpage.

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Is my property listed?

Buildings are listed to identify and protect our heritage. To learn more about how buildings are added to the national register and details of the locations of listed buildings in the borough, go to the find out about listed buildings webpage.

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Is my property in a conservation area?

There are a number of conservation areas across the borough. To find out if your property is in a conservation area, conservation area maps and appraisal and management plans are available to view on the find out about conservation areas webpage.

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Are there or have there ever been any planning applications for this property?

You can search for the planning history of a property via the public access system on the view or make a comment on a planning application webpage.

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Do I need building regulations approval? 

Building regulations approval is not the same as obtaining planning permission for your work. Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings. this ensures that building work is structurally sound, fire safe and reduces your heating bills.

Building regulations are needed for the construction and extension of buildings and is a legal requirement. Visit the building control webpages to check if you need building regulations.

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Can you tell me who owns land, a boundary or fence?

Unfortunately, we do not have this information. You may wish to check your deeds or tenancy agreement. If these are not clear or do not cover the land for which you need the information, there are a number of organisations that may help.

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What should I do if I have concerns about my neighbours' buildings work?

You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. This is known as permitted development. You can find details of permitted development rights on the Planning Portal - Common Projects website.

If you believe a breach of planning has occurred, you can report it to our Planning Enforcement Team by using the online form on the report an alleged breach of planning webpage. You will be asked to create a My Account before you can complete the form.

The webpage also provides information on how we respond to breaches of planning control, and provides details of works we can and cannot investigate.

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Can I get copies of documents?

If you require copies of decision notices, vendor consents, appeal decisions, section 52/106 agreements or tree preservation orders (TPO’S), you can request these on the find planning document copies and charges webpage.

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Do I require permission for a vehicle crossing?

If you are planning to make a new access point to your property and it crosses a public footpath, we may need to drop the kerb and the pavement may need strengthening. This is to protect any services buried in the ground such as water pipes.

You will need to make an application via the apply for a vehicle crossing licence webapge.  

In addition to obtaining a vehicle crossing licence, planning permission will be required if the vehicle crossing is off a classified road or trunk road. Planning permission may also be required for a new or replacement driveway.

You will not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (porous) surfacing. These are surfaces that allow water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt. It also applies if rain water is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally.

If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres, planning permission will be needed so that a traditional, impermeable driveway that does not provide natural drainage, can be layed.

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How do I check the use class of a property?

We do not hold a full list of current use classes. A planning history search may provide some indication of the most recent and lawful use class. You can search by property address via the public access for planning system

The only way to be certain of a properties current use class, is through the submission of a Lawful Development Certificate. Further information on this type of application and its requirements is available on the checklists for planning applications webpage.

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If your query is not answered within the FAQs, email:

How do I find out further information?

The Council runs regular 'Getting the Builders In' workshops at which, planning and building control experts will be on hand to explain how building designs can be made to comply with planning and building regulations.  The workshop is free to residents of Swindon Borough. If you would like to book a place or would like a 'Getting the Builders In' information pack, email:

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