The term "development" is very broad and means any of the following:
- building work such as a house, factory, shop, extension etc.
- changing the use of buildings or land (such as dividing a house into flats or using land for a different purpose)
- erecting walls, fences, or other structures
- engineering works, including the re-grading of the landscape
- forming a new vehicular access
In addition, the council's consent is also usually required to alter a listed building, to demolish a dwelling house or a building within a conservation area, to fell a tree within a conservation area or one subject to a preservation order, or to display an advertisement.
There are, however, a range of minor developments which do NOT require planning permission. These are generally referred to as "Permitted Development" and are subject to the particular proposal meeting very strict criteria relating amongst other things, to its size and detailed position. Permitted development can include the following:
- house extensions and outbuildings
- walls and fences up to 1 metre high abutting a highway and 2 metres high elsewhere
Check with the council before starting work.
As the law relating to planning permission is complex you are strongly advised to check with the council's Development Control Service before carrying out any development to see if planning permission is required for what you want to do. You may also find that you need approval under a Deed of Covenant associated with your property, or under the Building Regulations or other legislation, even where planning permission is not required..
Even if planning permission is not required for the works you are proposing, we would encourage you to consider very carefully the potential impacts of the works. Small alterations can, if nor carefully thought out first, spoil the appearance of a house and its immediate surroundings. For example, a small extension can easily block light from a neighbour's house or garden, while a new window or dormer can spoil the appearance of a whole row of houses or affect a neighbour's privacy.
Please also refer to the Planning Portal - do you need permission? which shows what does not require planning permission.
Once you decide that you need planning permission, you will have to submit an application. You will have to decide what sort of planning application you need to make. The following are the most common:
- Full - all details of the proposal are submitted at the outset. This is the appropriate application for change of use, developments within a Conservation Area, or affecting a Listed Building and also for a house extension. Any permission is usually valid for three years.
- Outline - used to establish whether the principle of development is acceptable without the expense of preparing detailed plans. An indicative detail will be required of the number, size, scale and location of the buildings. This type of application is not appropriate for house extensions, change of use, or for proposals within a Conservation Area or affecting a Listed Building.
- Approval of reserved matters - this normally would follow within three years of an outline application being granted permission and covers the detailed matters which were not previously approved
- If your proposal involves a Listed Building, or the demolition of a building within a Conservation Area, you will also need to apply for Listed Building Consent and/or Conservation Area consent
New levels of planning fees, introduced by the government, came into force on 22 November 2012. These can be viewed on the legislation.gov.uk website.
The scale of new fees can be found in Schedule 1 Part 2 of those regulations (The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2012 No. 2920)
Applications which are not exempt from the fees regulations and which are not accompanied by a fee, or by a fee appropriate to the development for which permission is sought, will not be processed until the correct fee has been received. A receipt issued by the council does not imply that the submitted fee is necessarily correct and, if this is so, you will be notified accordingly.
Cheques should be made payable to Central Bedfordshire Council.
Planning fees (PDF 43KB)
Fees for requesting copies of planning related documents (PDF 303KB)
Guidance form making electronic planning submissions:
- all planning documents should be clearly named, with names that are relevant to the planning application.
- planning documents will need to be clearly viewable on a 17" screen at a resolution that is not greater than 1024 x 768
- planning documents should be submitted electronically in Portable Document Format (PDF) and the file size should be kept to a minimum without adversely affecting quality
- no single PDF should exceed 5MB. Where the limit is exceeded, the file should be split into multiple files, or compressed so as not to exceed the limit
- ideally images should be labelled
- information on how to create accessible PDF files can be found on the Adobe website
- Scanned documents should have Optical Character Recognition (OCR) applied to them to produce searchable textual content
- PDF documents should include navigational and organisational aids, such as a table of contents, bookmarks and useful headings
Electronic planning documents should not have security applied (i.e. passwords) to prevent copying or editing, so that they can be published directly onto the council's website.
When is a Design and Access Statement required?
On 6 April 2010, the Government expanded the range of development that is exempt from the requirement for a design and access statement. The list below confirms the new requirements from 6 April 2010, and relates the various scenarios to the submission of on line planning applications via the Planning Portal.
Design and access statements will be required for all planning applications except for:
- a material change of use of land or a building unless it also involves operational development
- engineering or mining operations
- householder development not involving a conservation area or listed building
- applications for advertisement consent, tree preservation orders, or storage of hazardous materials
- applications to remove or vary conditions attached to existing planning permissions
- extensions of time limit for existing planning permissions
- applications for walls, gates, fences and other means of enclosure up to 2m in height (where these do require planning permission)
- applications on operational land for buildings or structures up to 100 cubic metres or 15m in height, whichever is the greater
- erection, alteration or replacement of plant or machinery, up to 15m above ground level, or up to the height of the existing plant or machinery whichever is the greater
If your site is within a World Heritage Site, Conservation Area, or involves a Listed Building, a Design and Access Statement will be required.
The design and access statement changes are explained in the Government guidance, Guidance on information requirements and validation, published 16 March 2010. Users of the Portal will also be able to access DAS information from the site.
There are eleven steps in the planning process:
- pre-application discussions
- application received
- validation, registration and acknowledgement
- consultation and / or statutory publicity
- consideration of comments received
- application assessed against consultation responses, policies and relevant matters and/or re-consultations and publicity if necessary
- negotiations with applicant if necessary
- recommendation to Committee if not delegated and/or recommendation to Development Control Manager or Team Leader
- decision on behalf of council
- permission and/or permission subject to conditions and/or refusal
- right to appeal to Secretary of State for Community and Local Government
The Design Guide is a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) and forms part of the Local Development Framework (LDF). The LDF comprises a number of DPDs and SPDs that set out policies and proposals for the development and use of land in the area.
The Design Guide has been prepared to set out the principles which contribute to good placemaking and sustainable development, within the context of creating a safe, accessible, attractive and healthy built environment. It seeks to ensure that each planning proposal responds to the challenges, opportunities and character of its site and setting.
The Guide is organized into two parts, the core Design Guide (A) and the Design Supplements (B).
A - The core Design Guide
The core Design Guide sets out the policy context to the guidance and generic design guidance relevant to almost every type of development likely to be encountered in the area. It also provides advice on the character of the district and methods of appraising sites and their settings. It should therefore be consulted whatever the type of development being undertaken.
Design Guide for Central Bedfordshire (PDF 4MB)
B- Design Supplements
Each Design Supplement provides detailed advice on a specific type of development within the area. The Design Supplements are:
DS1: New Residential Development (PDF 1.9MB)
DS2: Larger Footprint Buildings (PDF 864KB)
DS3: Town Centre and Infill Development (PDF 820KB)
DS4: Residential Alterations and Extensions (PDF 936KB)
DS5: The Historic Environment (PDF 1.3MB)
DS6: Shopfronts and Signage (PDF 1MB)
DS7: Movement, Streets and Places (PDF 2.2MB)
The function of the Highway Development Control Team is primarily to ensure that new development within Central Bedfordshire comply with highway design and safety policies and standards as laid down by central and local government.
The council is highway authority for non-trunk roads in the area. In this capacity the Highway Development Control team, as a consultee of the local planning authority, makes recommendations on planning applications, and comments on the suitability of sites proposed for inclusion in Forward Plans.
As part of assessing suitability of development proposals the team is responsible for securing funding of off-site highway infrastructure improvements as well as traffic calming, foot/cycleway provision and public transport services.
The adoption of a road is also the responsibility of the Highway Development Control Team.
For a road to be adopted it must meet specific standards. Details of these standards are available in our Highway Design Guide and General Specification Aid. Copies of the Design Guide are currently free as it is in the process of being updated. The General Specification Aid is available to purchase at a cost of £5.
The layout and construction specification must be agreed with the Highway Development Control team before construction begins on any road that will later be offered for adoption. The developer will have to enter into an agreement under Section 38 of the Highways Act in order to eventually get the road adopted. A bond is required under this agreement to cover the authority in the event of any default on the part of the developer. The bond value is based on, but higher than, the value of the highway works. A fee of 8.5% of the bond value is normally required to cover technical approval and inspection costs. If a developer begins work on the road before an agreement is in place then this fee is 11% of the bond value.
A fee to cover the legal costs in preparing the agreement is also required.