Householder Planning Guidance

A guide for householders to determine the need for planning permission, how to get advice and apply if required.

The planning system determines whether development requires planning permission or is 'permitted development’ (that it does not require consent).  As your local planning authority (LPA), we are responsible for deciding whether a proposed development complies with planning policy and whether it should be approved or refused permission.

What is development?

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 defines "development" as:-

"the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of a material change in the use of buildings or other land".

The basis of the system is that all development requires planning permission, unless it is specifically exempt through one of the relevant provisions of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO).

Is permission required?

Parliament decided that the planning system should not be bogged down in considering minor developments which have very little environmental impact.  Accordingly, it has granted 'permitted development rights' to a wide range of developments including certain alterations and extensions to houses, garden buildings and structures and other development contained within the residential curtilage of a dwelling house.

Other than for the installation of satellite dishes and microgeneration equipment (such as solar panels) these ‘permitted development rights’ only apply to houses and do not cover any buildings containing one or more flats.

The legislation covering permitted development rights is extremely detailed and complex, therefore it is often necessary to get pre-application advice from a Planning Officer to establish whether or not planning permission is required. This is because a decision can depend not only on the type and size of the development proposed but also its siting, the previous planning history of the site and whether it is affected by statutory designations such as a Conservation Area or the South Downs National Park.

We are also able to withdraw or modify permitted development rights, through conditions attached to a planning application or through an 'Article 4 Direction' where certain types of permitted development rights are removed.  These restrictions are sometimes put in place where the special character of an area or an individual property, would be harmed by development that would not normally require planning permission.

Changes to Permitted Development Rights

Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Order) Amendment 2013

Major changes to Permitted Development Rights for householders were introduced on 30 May 2013.  These changes apply only to single storey rear extensions to dwelling houses and are subject to a neighbour consultation process.  These extended rights do not apply to any property within the South Downs National Park, a Conservation Area or a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Further details are available on our Permitted Development page.

Planning Portal: Interactive House

House Permission Guide

The Planning Portal has produced an interactive guide detailing common questions related to planning permission.

  • Interactive House
    Explore the interactive semi-detached house for guidance on many common householder projects in England, including roofs, walls, doors and windows
  • Interactive Terrace
    Explore the interactive terrace for guidance relating to flats, shops and basements as well as many common householder projects, in England
  • Common Projects
    Planning Portal has a comprehensive list of common work including satellite dishes, solar panels, external lighting and many more

Pre-Application Advice

We offer Pre-Application Planning Advice for minor applications and householder applications. Please note that Pre-application fees apply for this service.

We can advise whether a planning application is required and if so, give you advice on the proposal as to whether it complies with planning policy and the likely recommendation for an application.  If we advise you that a proposal is likely to be refused we can offer advice on amendments to improve the proposal to achieve a satisfactory development.

Please download and complete the enquiry form below, for further advice on the requirement for a planning application.

    How To Apply

    As the Local Planning Authority for the Lewes District you must apply to us for planning permission.  For development within the South Downs National Park the majority of planning application decisions will be delegated to us for determination. 

    Find out more on the Planning Application Process.

    Anyone can make an application, irrespective of who owns the land or buildings concerned. However, if you are not the owner, or only have part-ownership, you must inform all other owners or leaseholders who have an interest in the land or building to which the application relates.

    There is no obligation to submit the application yourself and if you wish, you can appoint an agent (for example, architect, solicitor, planning consultant or builder) to submit the application on your behalf.  The majority of householder applications are reasonably simple and do not require an ‘expert’ to fill in the forms and submit the application however, you may require professional help in drawing up your plans.

    Drawings must be of good enough quality to clearly see the exact nature and location of the development being proposed and must be to a recognised scale.  The information required depends upon the type of application being made and the nature of the proposal.  Please see Planning Application Forms to find the appropriate forms, guidance and validation requirements.

    Dropped Kerbs

    Planning permission is generally not required for the installation of dropped kerbs at a property, other than if the road is classified (A, B and C roads).

    However separate consent is required from East Sussex County Council Highways who are responsible for permission relating to the alteration of pavements and roads.  You will generally require confirmation from us that the road onto which the dropped kerb is proposed, is not a classified road before applying to the Highways department.

    Other Permissions

    Whilst your works may have been granted planning permission or are covered by permitted development rights and comply with building regulations, you may still require additional permissions for your proposals, prior to starting work.

    These can include private covenants, legal requirements, Party Wall agreements, Highways requirements etc.  Further advice on these requirements can be found on the Planning Portal website.

    The following should be checked before you start work:

    Other permissions you may require