Find out if you need planning permission

Planning permission for homeowners

Our Residential Design Standards supplementary planning document (SPD) sets out what standard of design we expect from residential development. You can also read our Heritage SPD to find out more about what types of design we support for listed buildings, and homes located in conservation areas. 

Permitted development rights for homeowners

There are some types of works you can do to your home that you do not need planning permission for, including some types of extensions. These works are called permitted development. 

There are many resources you can use to understand what permitted development works you can do to your home, including:

Sometimes, permitted development rights are withdrawn from a property. This means that planning permission will be required for some external works, even if these works are permitted development. You can check if this affects your property by selecting the 'planning restrictions' option on Southwark Maps

Planning permission for flats

Permitted development rights do not apply to flats. This means that if you want to carry out any external works to your flat, you will probably need planning permission. 

If you're the leaseholder of a property where Southwark Council owns the freehold, please read our Guide for homeowners and houseowner services before beginning any works to your home. 

The Planning Portal's interactive guide for flats provides more information. 

Common works to your home

Advice on replacement windows and doors

You do not usually need to apply for planning permission for:

  • repairs, maintenance, and minor improvements, such as repainting window and door frames
  • insertion of new windows and doors that are of a similar appearance to those already in the house
  • installation of internal secondary glazing

If you live in a conservation area, a listed building, or in a property where an Article 4 Directon is in place to restrict permitted development rights, you might still need planning permission for the works listed above. 

Note that if new windows are in an upper-floor side elevation they must be obscure-glazed, and either non-opening or more than 1.7 metres above the floor level to be permitted development. 

Advice on bike stores

You do not usually need to apply for planning permission for:

  • small, non-permanent bike stores
  • bike stores that are not visible from the road (for example, in your back garden)

If the bike store is a permanent structure and is located at the front of the house, or to the side of a house if the side fronts a road, then you might need to apply for planning permission. There are no specific permitted development rights relating to bike stores.

Advice on dropped kerbs and parking

You do not usually need to apply for planning permission to change your front garden into a paved driveway, on the conditions that:

  • the area of the hard surface would be more than 5sqm
  • the hard surface is either made of porous materials, or you can confirm that any water would run off onto another porous area on your land

There are permitted development rights in place to change your front garden to a paved driveway. View the relevant planning legislation on installing a driveway (external website).

You will still need to apply to our Highways team to be able to install a dropped kerb allowing access to the driveway from the public highway. Find out more information about dropped kerbs

Page last updated: 15 December 2022

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