Do I need planning permission?

Please note: Temporary suspension of pre-application enquiries for non-major developments and general planning advice due to an exceptionally high workload and staff shortages at the present time.

Pre-application advice

Due to a continuing rise in the number of applications received and a current shortage of staff, we are currently experiencing delays in determining planning applications. Last year saw the Councils deal with more applications than at any time in the last 10 years and we are experiencing a similar increase this year.

In order to reduce the current backlog of applications and to ensure that as many applications as possible are determined within statutory timescales, we are forced to temporarily suspend our planning advice and pre-application service for all general householder enquiries and non-major developments.

For major developments (over 10 dwellings) enquiries should be sent in writing to the Development Management section using the full contact details (at the end of the page), providing as much information as possible (we can only answer enquires that include the full postal address of the property or a location map showing the site and a sketch proposal). We will not deal with your enquiry until the correct fee is paid.

Request pre-application advice:

Please note: We can only accept requests for pre-application advice using the form below, requests cannot be accepted via email:

Other ways to get advice:

Alternatively, the organisation Planning Aid England (PAE) offers planning advice and support to individuals and their communities. For further information please see:

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Do I need planning permission?

If you wish to build on land, or make alterations to an existing building or structure, you may need planning permission and/or an application under the current building regulations. For details about your obligations under the current building regulations please see our Building Control section.

The information below will help you to decide whether planning permission is required, as well as to search for other applications, relating either to your own, or to any other property within the district.

If you wish to build or alter a structure within the South Downs National Park area of Adur or Worthing, you will need to apply for permission through the South Downs National Park Authority planning service:

If you do not know if you need planning permission, please see the Planning Portal's guidance and interactive house, interactive terrace and mini guides to help you determine whether the work you want to carry out requires planning permission.

If you need permission:

If you have found that you do need planning permission then please see submit a planning application.

You may also require building consent.

See also 'permitted development' (below).

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Permitted development

You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called 'permitted development rights'. They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings.

Some works are deemed 'Permitted Development'; and can be carried out without making a formal planning application, however, detailed planning advice is available on the Planning Portal. In addition, you should always check the planning history of your property in case any conditions, imposed as a result of previous applications, have removed your 'permitted development' rights. You should also check to see whether your property is a Listed Building, in a Conservation Area, or within an area where there is an 'Article 4 Direction' which can all remove 'permitted development' rights. Please see the link below to the Planning Portal:

If you would like formal confirmation from Adur & Worthing Councils that planning permission is not required you should make an application for a 'Certificate of Lawfulness for a Proposed Use or Development'. This type of application simply asks "is planning permission is required". If it is not required you will be issued with a certificate confirming this. If planning permission is required, you will then need to continue on to a formal planning application. See: Lawful Development Certificates.

See also:

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Neighbour Consultation Scheme

The neighbour consultation scheme relates to larger single-storey rear extensions.

Extensions of over four and up to eight metres for detached houses and over three and up to six metres for all other houses, must go through this process.

If you wish to build a large extension you must notify the planning department, who will then consult the adjoining neighbours to advise them of your planned development.

If your neighbours raise any concerns or objections, the planning department will decide if their objections reveal any impact on the amenity of the neighbouring properties and whether your plans can go ahead.

From 19th August 2019, the government has introduced a fee of £96 for this process. Further guidance about the Neighbour Consultation Scheme can be obtained from the planning portal website.

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Page last updated: 05 August 2022

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