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Your guide to planning & building Control

What permission do I need?

There are two types of permission that may be needed when carrying out building work.

Planning permission seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment.

Building Regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

Step 1. Check if you need planning permission

You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. This is known as permitted development. 

The best place to start is the Planning Portal.  It is an independent website that explains everything you need to know about planning permission. It includes:

Further information on Permitted development rights for householders can be found in the government's technical guidance.

Step 2. Building regulations approval

It's a legal requirement for building work to meet the Building Regulations (2010). You must check if you need approval before starting building work. Building regulations approval is different from planning permission and you might need both for your project. 

  • Apply for building regulations approval

Step 3. Preparing an application

To assist with your development proposals, you can contact us for pre-application advice. This may include a discussion, meeting, site visit or letter from a planning officer, dependent on the scale of proposed development.

Before making a request for pre-application advice it is advisable to check whether planning permission is required.

If you wish to take advantage of our pre-application advice service, simply fill out the Pre-application form and email it together with your supporting plans, photos etc. to, and pay the appropriate fee. or post to the Development Control Manager, Town Hall, Victoria Square, St Helens, WA10 1HP.