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Planning - Householder guide

Householder planning applications are used for proposals to alter or enlarge a single house, including works within the boundary and garden of a house.

The guidance that follows will help you submit a valid householder planning application. It is also a useful starting point when applying for works to a house that is listed, although listed building applications have other requirements that are not covered here.

If you follow this guidance, it does not guarantee that permission will be granted for your planning application – each submission is determined on its own merits in accordance with local and national policies and guidance – but it does mean your application will be validated and proceed more quickly towards a decision.

Work that needs a householder application

Householder applications are needed for:

  • changes to an existing dwelling house
  • extensions to an existing dwelling house
  • extensions to family annexes
  • new incidental buildings within the garden
  • altered incidental buildings within the garden

Incidental buildings include garages, sheds, summerhouses and similar outbuildings.

This guide will still help you prepare supplemental documents, but we may ask for more information before validating your application.

Work that needs a full application

You must make a detailed full planning application if you want consent for other developments, excluding householder developments.

Full applications are needed for:

  • new family annexes or other outbuildings with sleeping quarters
  • new buildings on land that may be adjoining your garden – for example, a paddock next to your garden which you purchased separately or together with the house and garden
  • works to a flat
  • works to a maisonette

These types of development are not covered by this guide.

How to apply

You can apply online through the national Planning Portal website.

Making a Valid Application

When you submit an application the first thing we do is check you've provided all the information we need to assess it. We call this process validation.

An application is invalid if it doesn't have all the information we need. This means we cannot process it until you send us the missing information. The most common reasons why applications are invalid are.

  • drawings are not labelled clearly or correctly – all drawings must be given a descriptive label, for example 'existing first floor plan' or 'proposed front elevation', with a plan number
  • inaccurate or missing plans and information – you can find more guidance on drawings and information we need within the pages of this section of our website
  • drawings not drawn to a recognised scale – all drawings must be to a recognised scale, must clearly state the scale and indicate a linear scale and/or written dimensions
  • incorrect fee or no fee at all – the national Planning Portal provides a fee calculator and a guide you can download at Planning Portal: what it costs
  • no red line drawn around the application site on the site location plan – more details can be found in the National Planning Practice Guidance at GOV.UK: making an application
  • scheme proposals are incomplete – your proposal must include all details of your scheme

You can avoid delays to your application by making sure you have covered all the points above when you submit it to us.

1. Application Form

When choosing the form, select "Householder planning permission" from the drop-down box.

You should complete every question within the form. If a question doesn't seem relevant to your proposal, enter "N/A" – not applicable – on the form.

Plans and documents are uploaded as attachments to the application when you apply online, which makes the process much simpler. If you send us a printed application, you must include one copy of the completed application form and a copy of all the supporting plans and documents.

2. Site Location

A site location plan shows the site in relation to the wider area, so anyone looking at the plans can quickly and easily identify the location.

Site location plans:

  • are usually drawn to a scale of 1:1250 for urban sites, but may be 1:2500 for rural sites
  • must have the scale bar printed clearly on the plan itself
  • must have at least two cross streets visible and labelled
  • must show the site – house and garden – edged in red, while any other land owned by the applicants, such as an adjoining site or paddock or field, may be edged in blue
  • must have an arrow that points to the north
  • are not usually rotated on the page – north is usually the top of the page

3. Site Layout

Site layout plans – also known as a block plans – should provide more detailed information about the existing site and the proposed development in relation to neighbouring properties.

Layout plans both for the site as it exists now, and the site as it would be after the proposed development, are needed so a planning officer can evaluate the changes.

Existing and proposed site layout plans:

  • are usually drawn to a scale not less than 1:500
  • must have the scale bar printed clearly
  • must have an arrow that points to the north
  • are not usually rotated on the page – north is usually the top of the page
  • should clearly indicate any easements, right of ways and covenant areas
  • must show all buildings, roads and footpaths on land within or adjoining the site
  • must show all boundary structures
  • must show the extent and the type of any hard surfacing such as parking
  • must show the position of all trees
  • must have clear annotations to explain all features that are shown
  • should show grade levels on both the existing and proposed layout plan, if the development would affect ground levels

Proposed changes may also be shown by overlaying the proposed development footprint on top of the existing site layout, or vice versa. This can help a planning officer or client to understand the changes more effectively than two separate drawings.

If there are topographic differences across the site, or if you plan to modify the site levels, you may have to overlay the proposed building outlines on a topographic survey

4. Elevations and Sections

Elevations are what a building or structure looks like from the outside. Drawings of existing and proposed elevations are needed unless the development would not affect or change them – for example, the creation of a parking space.

Sections – also called cross sections – are drawings that show what the building or structure would look like if it were cut vertically to reveal the internal space. They show relationships between features that cannot be shown through external elevations.

Sections may be needed for roof alterations or when a new storey is added. They may also be needed when there are topographic differences either within the site or between the site and the surrounding area.

On elevation and section drawings:

  • the scale – usually 1:100 or 1:50 – must be shown clearly, both in text and as a scale bar
  • each page must have a unique plan number – for example, 01, 02, EX101
  • you must include any side that is changed, or from which the change may be seen – for example, a front porch would require a front elevation and views from both sides, whereas a side extension that wraps around the back would require all four elevations
  • where an elevation is not changing, a drawing should be labelled "existing no change"
  • each drawing must be labelled clearly – 'N' elevation is the side of the property that faces north, 'SE' is the side that faces southeast, and so on – and text such as "front elevation", "rear elevation", "as seen from the street" can also be added
  • details of finishes and materials can either be applied directly to the elevation drawing or shown on a separate drawing with clear annotations – in both cases, they should match the details given on the application form
  • if a change is proposed to the elevation on a row of terraced or semi-detached houses, or on or very near a boundary with another property, the windows on the affected elevations of the neighbouring property should be shown as well – for example, drawings for a rear conservatory on a boundary with an attached house should show details of the rear of the applicant's house and also any windows or doors on the rear of the attached house, as light or the outlook from the neighbour's house may be affected
  • if additional floors are proposed, the level of each floor and the ridge height must be shown
  • there should be a small plan key showing the position and direction through which the section is cut, on all section drawings
  • must, where section drawings are needed, cut through all key features in the proposal – for example, new stairs or an altered roof
  • if changes to ground levels are proposed – for example, excavating, filling, creating steps or ramps – a section drawing must be provided to show how the site will change in relation to the existing topography, road, public footpaths and other access arrangements

5. Floors

Floor plans show the relationship between rooms, space and other features such as walls, windows and doors in each storey of a building.

Existing and proposed floor plans are both needed for replacement or altered buildings unless the proposed development would not change the floor plan – for example, re-roofing or replacement windows.

On floor plans:

  • the scale – usually 1:100 or 1:50 – must be shown clearly, both in text and as a scale bar
  • each page must have a unique plan number – for example, 01, 02, EX101
  • a north arrow must be shown if the floor plan in a drawing layout has been rotated from its true orientation
  • any new storey or existing storeys affected by the proposal must be shown clearly on both existing and proposed floor plans, with names such as "ground floor", "first floor" and so on
  • if the proposed development is on a row of terraced or semi-detached houses, or is on or very near a boundary with another property, the ground floor plan must include the walls and closest windows of affected neighbouring properties
  • finished floor levels, usually relative to a fixed reference point, must be shown
  • the total area of an extension, outbuilding or any additional floors should be shown

An indicative furniture layout maybe required for certain types of projects, such as subdivision, and for most new developments.

Proposed changes can also be shown by overlaying the proposed footprint on the top of the existing floor plans, or vice versa. This can help a planning officer or client to understand the changes more effectively than two separate drawings.

6. Parking

Existing and proposed parking plans are needed where a change is proposed to existing parking, such as spaces being added or built over, or where additional bedrooms are proposed. You may combine this with existing and proposed site layout plans.

Be aware that you may be required to alter your parking arrangements if you are increasing the number of bedrooms in the house, even if this is not part of your original proposal.

A standard car parking space is 2.5m wide and 5.0m long. Up to 7.0m may be needed longer vehicles or where bins are stored on the drive. If the bins are stored elsewhere this should be shown on the plan.

Car parking spaces must not overhang the highway or the pavement.

On parking plans:

  • the scale should be clearly indicated – parking plans are commonly 1:500 or 1:200
  • a scale bar needs to be printed on the page
  • each page must have a unique plan number – for example, 01, 02, EX101
  • there must be a north point indicator
  • existing and proposed dropped kerbs, vehicle crossovers, and car parking spaces must be shown
  • the location and heights of any boundary treatments to the front or side of the house must be shown – as existing and as proposed – if they are to be altered

Other documentation

Flood risk assessment - Flood zones refer to the probability of river and sea flooding, ignoring the presence of defences. You must to submit a flood risk assessment with your proposal if your property is within flood zones 2 or 3.

For more information, go to:

Tree survey - Trees are protected if they are:

  • within a conservation area
  • covered by a tree preservation order

You will need to submit a tree survey and impact assessment with your application if:

  • there are any protected trees within falling distance of your proposal
  • you are building within the root protection area of a protected tree

The root protection area can be wider than the canopy of the tree, so even if you are not building underneath the tree, you may need a survey.

If there are established driveways, buildings, or walls between the tree and your proposal, it is unlikely the root protection area will have extended past these structures.

Ecological survey - If you are building on an area of garden that is routinely used, it is unlikely you have any protected species living there.

If you intend to build a shed on a far corner of the garden that has been left to grow wild for many years, however, protected species may have moved in and an investigative ecological survey should be completed by a qualified person.

Heritage impact assessment - Any householder application for a listed building will be incomplete unless you submit a Heritage Impact Assessment. This is a comprehensive assessment for which you will probably need to hire a specialist in Building Conservation. It is often divided into 3 parts:

  • a description of all features of architectural, historic, or social merit
  • a discussion of how the proposal will affect those features
  • all measures taken to mitigate against any impact

You won't be able to rely solely on the listing from Historic England for this information.

Planning policy - Whether you are designing your own extension or working with an architect, you must make sure your proposal is in line with current planning policy.

Our local planning policies are in accordance with regional and national policies, so all you really need to consider are the local policies

Breadcrumb, my location

Planning - Householder guide

Householder planning applications are used for proposals to alter or enlarge a single house, including works within the boundary and garden of a house.

The guidance that follows will help you submit a valid householder planning application. It is also a useful starting point when applying for works to a house that is listed, although listed building applications have other requirements that are not covered here.

If you follow this guidance, it does not guarantee that permission will be granted for your planning application – each submission is determined on its own merits in accordance with local and national policies and guidance – but it does mean your application will be validated and proceed more quickly towards a decision.

Work that needs a householder application

Householder applications are needed for:

  • changes to an existing dwelling house
  • extensions to an existing dwelling house
  • extensions to family annexes
  • new incidental buildings within the garden
  • altered incidental buildings within the garden

Incidental buildings include garages, sheds, summerhouses and similar outbuildings.

This guide will still help you prepare supplemental documents, but we may ask for more information before validating your application.

Work that needs a full application

You must make a detailed full planning application if you want consent for other developments, excluding householder developments.

Full applications are needed for:

  • new family annexes or other outbuildings with sleeping quarters
  • new buildings on land that may be adjoining your garden – for example, a paddock next to your garden which you purchased separately or together with the house and garden
  • works to a flat
  • works to a maisonette

These types of development are not covered by this guide.

How to apply

You can apply online through the national Planning Portal website.

Making a Valid Application

When you submit an application the first thing we do is check you've provided all the information we need to assess it. We call this process validation.

An application is invalid if it doesn't have all the information we need. This means we cannot process it until you send us the missing information. The most common reasons why applications are invalid are.

  • drawings are not labelled clearly or correctly – all drawings must be given a descriptive label, for example 'existing first floor plan' or 'proposed front elevation', with a plan number
  • inaccurate or missing plans and information – you can find more guidance on drawings and information we need within the pages of this section of our website
  • drawings not drawn to a recognised scale – all drawings must be to a recognised scale, must clearly state the scale and indicate a linear scale and/or written dimensions
  • incorrect fee or no fee at all – the national Planning Portal provides a fee calculator and a guide you can download at Planning Portal: what it costs
  • no red line drawn around the application site on the site location plan – more details can be found in the National Planning Practice Guidance at GOV.UK: making an application
  • scheme proposals are incomplete – your proposal must include all details of your scheme

You can avoid delays to your application by making sure you have covered all the points above when you submit it to us.

1. Application Form

When choosing the form, select "Householder planning permission" from the drop-down box.

You should complete every question within the form. If a question doesn't seem relevant to your proposal, enter "N/A" – not applicable – on the form.

Plans and documents are uploaded as attachments to the application when you apply online, which makes the process much simpler. If you send us a printed application, you must include one copy of the completed application form and a copy of all the supporting plans and documents.

2. Site Location

A site location plan shows the site in relation to the wider area, so anyone looking at the plans can quickly and easily identify the location.

Site location plans:

  • are usually drawn to a scale of 1:1250 for urban sites, but may be 1:2500 for rural sites
  • must have the scale bar printed clearly on the plan itself
  • must have at least two cross streets visible and labelled
  • must show the site – house and garden – edged in red, while any other land owned by the applicants, such as an adjoining site or paddock or field, may be edged in blue
  • must have an arrow that points to the north
  • are not usually rotated on the page – north is usually the top of the page

3. Site Layout

Site layout plans – also known as a block plans – should provide more detailed information about the existing site and the proposed development in relation to neighbouring properties.

Layout plans both for the site as it exists now, and the site as it would be after the proposed development, are needed so a planning officer can evaluate the changes.

Existing and proposed site layout plans:

  • are usually drawn to a scale not less than 1:500
  • must have the scale bar printed clearly
  • must have an arrow that points to the north
  • are not usually rotated on the page – north is usually the top of the page
  • should clearly indicate any easements, right of ways and covenant areas
  • must show all buildings, roads and footpaths on land within or adjoining the site
  • must show all boundary structures
  • must show the extent and the type of any hard surfacing such as parking
  • must show the position of all trees
  • must have clear annotations to explain all features that are shown
  • should show grade levels on both the existing and proposed layout plan, if the development would affect ground levels

Proposed changes may also be shown by overlaying the proposed development footprint on top of the existing site layout, or vice versa. This can help a planning officer or client to understand the changes more effectively than two separate drawings.

If there are topographic differences across the site, or if you plan to modify the site levels, you may have to overlay the proposed building outlines on a topographic survey

4. Elevations and Sections

Elevations are what a building or structure looks like from the outside. Drawings of existing and proposed elevations are needed unless the development would not affect or change them – for example, the creation of a parking space.

Sections – also called cross sections – are drawings that show what the building or structure would look like if it were cut vertically to reveal the internal space. They show relationships between features that cannot be shown through external elevations.

Sections may be needed for roof alterations or when a new storey is added. They may also be needed when there are topographic differences either within the site or between the site and the surrounding area.

On elevation and section drawings:

  • the scale – usually 1:100 or 1:50 – must be shown clearly, both in text and as a scale bar
  • each page must have a unique plan number – for example, 01, 02, EX101
  • you must include any side that is changed, or from which the change may be seen – for example, a front porch would require a front elevation and views from both sides, whereas a side extension that wraps around the back would require all four elevations
  • where an elevation is not changing, a drawing should be labelled "existing no change"
  • each drawing must be labelled clearly – 'N' elevation is the side of the property that faces north, 'SE' is the side that faces southeast, and so on – and text such as "front elevation", "rear elevation", "as seen from the street" can also be added
  • details of finishes and materials can either be applied directly to the elevation drawing or shown on a separate drawing with clear annotations – in both cases, they should match the details given on the application form
  • if a change is proposed to the elevation on a row of terraced or semi-detached houses, or on or very near a boundary with another property, the windows on the affected elevations of the neighbouring property should be shown as well – for example, drawings for a rear conservatory on a boundary with an attached house should show details of the rear of the applicant's house and also any windows or doors on the rear of the attached house, as light or the outlook from the neighbour's house may be affected
  • if additional floors are proposed, the level of each floor and the ridge height must be shown
  • there should be a small plan key showing the position and direction through which the section is cut, on all section drawings
  • must, where section drawings are needed, cut through all key features in the proposal – for example, new stairs or an altered roof
  • if changes to ground levels are proposed – for example, excavating, filling, creating steps or ramps – a section drawing must be provided to show how the site will change in relation to the existing topography, road, public footpaths and other access arrangements

5. Floors

Floor plans show the relationship between rooms, space and other features such as walls, windows and doors in each storey of a building.

Existing and proposed floor plans are both needed for replacement or altered buildings unless the proposed development would not change the floor plan – for example, re-roofing or replacement windows.

On floor plans:

  • the scale – usually 1:100 or 1:50 – must be shown clearly, both in text and as a scale bar
  • each page must have a unique plan number – for example, 01, 02, EX101
  • a north arrow must be shown if the floor plan in a drawing layout has been rotated from its true orientation
  • any new storey or existing storeys affected by the proposal must be shown clearly on both existing and proposed floor plans, with names such as "ground floor", "first floor" and so on
  • if the proposed development is on a row of terraced or semi-detached houses, or is on or very near a boundary with another property, the ground floor plan must include the walls and closest windows of affected neighbouring properties
  • finished floor levels, usually relative to a fixed reference point, must be shown
  • the total area of an extension, outbuilding or any additional floors should be shown

An indicative furniture layout maybe required for certain types of projects, such as subdivision, and for most new developments.

Proposed changes can also be shown by overlaying the proposed footprint on the top of the existing floor plans, or vice versa. This can help a planning officer or client to understand the changes more effectively than two separate drawings.

6. Parking

Existing and proposed parking plans are needed where a change is proposed to existing parking, such as spaces being added or built over, or where additional bedrooms are proposed. You may combine this with existing and proposed site layout plans.

Be aware that you may be required to alter your parking arrangements if you are increasing the number of bedrooms in the house, even if this is not part of your original proposal.

A standard car parking space is 2.5m wide and 5.0m long. Up to 7.0m may be needed longer vehicles or where bins are stored on the drive. If the bins are stored elsewhere this should be shown on the plan.

Car parking spaces must not overhang the highway or the pavement.

On parking plans:

  • the scale should be clearly indicated – parking plans are commonly 1:500 or 1:200
  • a scale bar needs to be printed on the page
  • each page must have a unique plan number – for example, 01, 02, EX101
  • there must be a north point indicator
  • existing and proposed dropped kerbs, vehicle crossovers, and car parking spaces must be shown
  • the location and heights of any boundary treatments to the front or side of the house must be shown – as existing and as proposed – if they are to be altered

Other documentation

Flood risk assessment - Flood zones refer to the probability of river and sea flooding, ignoring the presence of defences. You must to submit a flood risk assessment with your proposal if your property is within flood zones 2 or 3.

For more information, go to:

Tree survey - Trees are protected if they are:

  • within a conservation area
  • covered by a tree preservation order

You will need to submit a tree survey and impact assessment with your application if:

  • there are any protected trees within falling distance of your proposal
  • you are building within the root protection area of a protected tree

The root protection area can be wider than the canopy of the tree, so even if you are not building underneath the tree, you may need a survey.

If there are established driveways, buildings, or walls between the tree and your proposal, it is unlikely the root protection area will have extended past these structures.

Ecological survey - If you are building on an area of garden that is routinely used, it is unlikely you have any protected species living there.

If you intend to build a shed on a far corner of the garden that has been left to grow wild for many years, however, protected species may have moved in and an investigative ecological survey should be completed by a qualified person.

Heritage impact assessment - Any householder application for a listed building will be incomplete unless you submit a Heritage Impact Assessment. This is a comprehensive assessment for which you will probably need to hire a specialist in Building Conservation. It is often divided into 3 parts:

  • a description of all features of architectural, historic, or social merit
  • a discussion of how the proposal will affect those features
  • all measures taken to mitigate against any impact

You won't be able to rely solely on the listing from Historic England for this information.

Planning policy - Whether you are designing your own extension or working with an architect, you must make sure your proposal is in line with current planning policy.

Our local planning policies are in accordance with regional and national policies, so all you really need to consider are the local policies