Find out if you need planning permission

Planning permission for householders

The council's Residential Design Standards SPD sets out what standard of design is expected from residential development. Other guidance exists for properties located in conservation areas. 

Single dwellinghouses may benefit from Permitted Development. This allows for some work and extensions to be carried out without the need for planning permission. See guidance from the Planning Portal (external website) to check if your property will benefit from Permitted Development and understand more about what works you can do.

This interactive guide (external website) will help you to understand Permitted Development rights. You can use this guide to simply select the part of the house you are thinking of changing to find an explanation of the rules. You can also check the Planning Portal (external website) for guidance on many common building projects for the home.

In some cases, Permitted Development rights may have been withdrawn from a property. This means that planning permission might be required forcertain external works. You can check if this is relevant to your property by selecting the Planning Restrictions layer on Southwark Maps

Planning permission for flats

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

The Planning Portal's interactive guide for flats (external website) provides more information. 

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

However, 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, planning permission might be required for these works. 

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 heat pumps

The installation of a ground source heat pump or an air source heat pump to a residential property is considered to be Permitted Development. This means that you do not usually need to apply for planning permission. View the relevant legislation on air source heat pumps (external website)

Advice on bike stores

You do not need planning permission for small, non-permanent bike stores. However, if the bike store is a permanent structure and is located to the front of the house, or to the side of a house if the side fronts a road, then you may need to apply for planning permission. There are no specific Permitted Development rights relating to bike stores.

Advice on dropped kerbs and parking

There are Permitted Development rights in place to change your front garden to a paved driveway. View the relevant legislation on installing a driveway (external website). However, you 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

Advice on works to a council-owned flat

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

Page last updated: 12 August 2022

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