Quick guide to planning

Miscellaneous planning queries

How do I find out if a building is listed?

You can find out if a building is listed by visiting the Historic England website.

When do I need to apply for listed building consent?

You will require listed building consent to alter, demolish or replace any part of the listed building, or to extend or alter it in a manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

Kitchen units, bathroom fittings and décor can usually be changed without any need for listed building consent, providing they are not part of the historic fabric of the listed building.

However, even fairly minor work, such as replacing an internal door might need consent. This will include where modern door exists and you want to replace it with something more in keeping or traditional. This would usually be seen as a beneficial change, but it is nevertheless a change and therefore the requirement for prior consent still stands.

Minor additions such as satellite dishes, flues and alarm boxes may also require prior consent.

Repairs may usually be carried out without listed building consent, providing they are done exactly like-for-like

You would not require listed building consent to repair your windows by splicing in new timber to damaged patches, but you would need consent is an exact ‘like-for-like’ replica. This is seen as alterations rather than a repair.

Visit our listed buildings page for more information.

How do I find out if a building is in a conservation area?

Please check our conservation areas page which has a list of conservation area maps and documents.

Is a tree protected? Are there any tree preservation orders relating to my site?

You can find out if a tree is protected from the address by search on the online tree register or if your site is in a conservation area by visiting our interactive map.

How do I find out if my site is within the Green Belt?

You can find out or if your site is within the South Bedfordshire Green Belt by visiting our interactive map.

  • find the property/site you are interested in
  • view in the ‘My Maps’ tab
  • expand the ‘Local Plan’ map categories and then select ‘South Green Belt’ or ‘North Green Belt’
  • if your property is within the Green Belt your property will be washed over with the colour green

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

Unfortunately, we do not have this information.

You may wish to try checking your deeds or tenancy agreement. If these are not clear or don't cover the land you need information on, there are several places you can go to for further help:

How can I view or obtain copies of planning application documents?

You can view details of planning applications, including plans and other documents online. If you know the planning application reference number you can view the application details on our planning application database.

If you don’t know the planning reference number, you can search for the address but it may be easier to use our interactive map.

  • find the property/site you are interested in
  • view in the ‘My Maps’ tab
  • select ‘Planning Control’ map categories and then select the site
  • click on the relevant planning reference number to see the application details and view plans and other documents

What can I do if my neighbour wants to make changes to my property?

We can only look at the planning issues rather than your civil rights as a homeowner. However, you may want to check your rights with your solicitor and/or Party Wall Act.

How do I report a possible breach of planning control?

Please report a possible breach of planning control within our area on the online investigation form.

This will trigger an investigation by our planning enforcement officers, using the information you declare in this form. It is therefore of great help to us if you complete the form attached as fully and accurately, providing as much information about the breach as possible.

All concerns are treated in confidence, but we may need to contact you for further information and to discuss your concerns.

What if I am unhappy with a planning decision?

If we refuse permission, we will give reasons.

Only applicants have the right of appeal. It is important that objections are made to the Planning Department before planning permission is decided. If the applicant appeals against the decision, objectors will be invited to submit further comments as part of the appeals process undertaken by the Planning Inspectorate.

If you are the applicant, you can appeal against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate. Their website has appeal forms, or you can appeal online via the Planning Portal.

You can appeal against:

  • a refusal of planning permission
  • conditions attached to a planning approval
  • a decision not being made within 8-weeks of our receiving a valid application (this is known as a deemed refusal and we advise you to contact the Case Officer before you make an appeal of this type)
  • an enforcement notice relating to unauthorised development

Can I be reassured land won’t be developed on?

In order to see if land has been allocated or designated for a specific use, please check our proposals map (under the relevant area – north / south). If there is no allocation or designation, this is a reflection of the current development plan. However, the situation may change in the future. For more information see our planning policy documents.

Can I speak to a planning officer / duty planner?

Please read through the quick guide pages carefully before you call as your question may already have been addressed.

Please note the duty planning officer cannot provide information in relation to the following:

  • confirmation whether planning permission would be required for a proposal: information on whether a proposal may require planning permission can be found on the planning pages or planning portal. Alternatively, you will need to submit a Lawful Development Certificate or a Pre-application enquiry
  • advice on the acceptability of proposals: advice on the acceptability of a proposal can only be given through a pre-application enquiry
  • confirm whether permitted development rights are intact: in the first instance check your deeds, the site history of your property using our interactive map, the planning history of a site. If you are still unsure, you will need to submit a pre-application enquiry
  • advise whether conditions have been discharged: please check the planning history of the site and the planning documents available on the website

To discuss any pre-application advice, you will need to submit a pre-application enquiry form with relevant fee and documentation.

To speak with a planning officer regarding your planning application, please contact the officer directly.

To speak to a duty planning officer for any other matter, please call 0300 300 8000 between 9am an 1pm, Monday to Friday.

Please note: we are unable to provide a service for members of the public to make general planning enquiries at our Chicksands or Dunstable offices.

What is the difference between planning and building control?

Planning looks at the use of the land and decides whether the proposed building work can go ahead and in what capacity

Building control is concerned with the technical side such as making sure building regulations are upheld and public safety is maintained.