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Do I need Planning Permission?

The planning system is in place to control 'development'.  Some changes may be so small they are not considered 'development', such as installing an alarm box or television aerial; some changes are relatively minor and are given permission automatically under what is referred to as 'permitted development rights', this might enable you to extend your house or put up a shed, provided you keep within the rules.  Other development, such as a large extension, new garage or a change of use of a building, may well require permission.  

I’m a householder - do I need planning permission?

The question below may help you decide whether you need permission or not.  The Permission needed? (external link, opens new window) section of the Planning Portal web site provides further advice on when you will need to apply for planning permission.  You can also contact us if you are unsure.

PLEASE NOTE: The guidance below applies to houses within a National Park; if you live in a flat or if your house is listed or has had its permitted development rights removed, we would suggest you contact us for advice.  

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need planning permission...
To paint my house?
To make internal alterations?
To change windows and doors?
To make alterations to roofs?
To install a rooflight (e.g. a velux window)?
To add or enlarge a porch?
To build a conservatory or extension?
To build curtilage (garden) structures such as decking, a shed, greenhouse or an oil tank?
To enlarge or alter my boundary wall or fence?
To install or change hard surfacing?
To install a chimney, flue, soil or vent pipe?
To install, alter or replacement a satellite dish or TV aerial?
To install solar panels or a wind turbine?
To create a new access?

To paint my house?

You do not need planning permission to paint your house.  If you live in a listed building you may like to contact us for advice.


To make internal alterations?

You do not need planning permission to make internal alteration to your house.  If you are changing the use of the house, or live in a listed building you should contact us for advice.


To change windows and doors?

You do not need planning permission to replace or alter the windows and doors of a house in the National Park (including Conservation Areas) - provided
a) it is a house and not a flat
b) the house is not a listed building
c) your house has not had its permitted development rights removed, or was granted permission with a condition stating that doors or windows have to be of a certain design or material.

To make alterations to roofs?

You will need planning permission for all roof extensions, including the installation of dormer windows.  See below for more information on installing rooflights.

To install a rooflight (e.g. a velux window)?

Roof lights do not need planning permission provided:

  • They do not project more than 150mm from the surface of the roof
  • If they are in a side elevations, are open-able and below 1.7 metres from the floor they should be obscure glazed.

If you live in a flat, a listed building or have had permitted development rights removed you can contact us for further advice.  


To add or enlarge a porch?

Planning permission is not required for a porch which is constructed outside an existing external door; any new porch must be no greater than three square metres in area, three metres in height or within two metres of any boundary with a highway.

To build a conservatory or extension?

This area can be more complicated, you can find more information on the Planning Portal web site or you may like to contact us for further advice if you are unsure.   

You will need planning permission for:

  • Extensions fronting a highway on the 'principal elevation'
  • Any side extensions
  • Rear extensions greater than one storey
  • Cladding the exterior of the house
  • Verandas and balconies
  • Raised platforms more than 300mm high.

Other developments may be permitted if the following conditions are met:

  • The height of the eaves of the extensions must not exceed three metres if the extension is within two metres of a boundary
  • Single-storey rear extensions must not extend from the wall of the original house by more than three metres for terraced or semi-detached houses, or four metres for detached houses
  • The extension cannot be higher than 4 metres to the ridge line
  • Materials must be of a similar appearance to existing materials
  • Upper floor windows inserted in side elevations must be obscure glazed and open-able parts of the window must be more than 1.7 metres above the floor
  • Total ground area covered by buildings in the curtilage must not exceed 50 per cent of the curtilage area.


To build curtilage (garden) structures such as decking, a shed, greenhouse or an oil tank?

This area can be more complicated, you can find more information on the Planning Portal web site or you may like to contact us for further advice if you are unsure.   

You will need planning permission for:

  • Containers with capacity greater than 3,500 litres
  • Any structures forward of the 'principal elevation' of the house
  • Any structures to the side of the house
  • Any structures higher than 4 metres
  • Any verandas and balconies
  • Any raised platforms (including decking) more than 300mm high
  • Curtilage structures greater than 10 square metres in area and more than 20 metres from the house

Other development may be permitted development if the following conditions are met:

  • Dual-pitched structures, such as a building with a gable-ended roof, must not exceed four metres high
  • Structures within two metres of boundary must not exceed 2.5 metres in height
  • Other structures must not exceed three metres in height
  • The height of the eaves must not exceed 2.5 metres
  • Total ground area covered by structures in curtilage must not exceed 50 per cent of curtilage area (excluding house area).


To enlarge or alter my boundary wall or fence?

Repair or replacement of an existing wall or fence would not normally require permission.  Next to a road used by vehicular traffic, you can build a new wall or fence without planning permission as long as it is not more than one metre high. You can build a new wall or fence up to two metres high anywhere else without needing planning permission.  If you live in a listed building or a conservation area you should contact us for advice.


To install or change hard surfacing?

From 1 October 2008 the permitted development rights that allow householders to pave their front garden with hardstanding without planning permission have changed in order to reduce the impact of this type of development on flooding and on pollution of watercourses.  You will not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally.  If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area.

For more details, please read Government guidance on permeable surfacing of front gardens (external link, opens in new window) or contact us for advice.  


To install a chimney, flue, soil or vent pipe?

You will need planning permission for if the installation if it is going to be on a front or side wall or roof slope which front a highway.  If this is not the case it may be permitted provided the installation does not exceed one metre above the highest part of the roof.


To install, alter or replacement a satellite dish or TV aerial?

Television aerials do not normally need planning permission.  Satellite dishes might need permission depending on their location, you can find more detailed information on our Television Antennae and Satellite Dishes page.


To install solar panels or a wind turbine?

Householders are now permitted to install some domestic scale renewable energy technologies, such as solar thermal and solar PV, in certain locations without the need for planning permission.  However, the equipment must be sited to minimise the effect upon the amenity of the area and once the equipment is no longer needed it must be removed. 

The leaflet below offers advice on whether you will need planning permission for the works proposed, but you should seek advice from the DNPA Development Management Service prior to committing to have equipment installed or commencing works.

Installation of Domestic Microgeneration equipment  PDF icon (PDF Help 78kb)

Guidance to potential micro-hydropower developers  PDF icon (PDF Help 850kb)


To create a new Access?

The formation, laying out and construction of a new means of access onto an unclassified road is only permitted development where it needed in connection with other domestic permitted development.

The formation, laying out and construction of a new means of access onto a trunk or classified road will require planning permission. Please contact the Devon County Council Highways Department on 0845 155 1004 to discuss the potential highways issues (such as visibility and safety). You can then contact us for advice on applying for permission.  

Web Review: We are currently in the process of updating the Planning pages of the web site and would welcome your comments.  Please use the feedback form.

Page last updated: 25 Mar 2013