Applying for planning permission

If you propose to erect or alter a building, change the use of a building or land, form a vehicle access, or carry out work that can be described as an engineering operation, you may require planning permission

However certain developments do not require permission as they constitute ‘permitted development’ as laid out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order. Whilst such developments do not require planning permission, if you have any doubts, or if you would like a formal confirmation that a development does not require planning permission and is lawful, you should submit an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development.

Permitted Development rights do not exist if:
1)  The property is a flat, maisonette or used for any business.
2)  Your house has had its 'permitted development' rights removed.  (These are rights that allow you to do work without needing to ask permission.  They are most often removed by a condition which was set when the original permission to build your house was granted.  This is more likely if that was within the past 30 years - please check with the Development Management team.)

You can apply Portal Interactive Housefor a Certificate of Lawful development which will formally confirm whether planning is required at the Planning Portal

You can discuss your proposed scheme with a member of Development Management. However any advice given would only be informal and no confirmation from Development Management can be provided in writing except through the submission of a Certificate of Lawful Development, or if relevant, a Prior Approval application in the case of deeper single-storey rear extensions.

 You can also use the following tools on the Planning Portal to see if you need planning permission and to help you with your application.

Interactive house guide

Interactive terrace/flat/shop/basement guide

The Council encourages applicants to discuss their proposals with a Planning Officer before making their application. This might involve meeting with an Officer or just sending us your proposals for pre-application comments. This can help to overcome potential difficulties and to make sure your application deals with all the important planning considerations. This also enables any issues and serious shortcomings to be identified early and may save further time – and money! However, any views expressed by Officers are given without prejudice to any decision that may be finally made by the council.

You may also find it helpful to obtain advice from an independent planning specialist when drawing up your scheme. People who regularly prepare planning applications have the experience and expertise that can help make sure your scheme has the best chance of being granted consent. Spending time and effort in preparing your scheme is more likely to result in a good quality and acceptable development and also help us process your application quickly.

Quality Review Panel



Different types of development require different types of consent. Due to this, different application forms are available depending on the scope of the proposed works. Any works to a residential property (such as an extension or the erection of an outbuilding within the garden) should be applied for using a householder application form, works to a Listed Building should be applied for using a Listed Building Consent application form, etc. However, some developments will require more than one consent. In such cases a combined form may be available that deals with both consents through the use of one form (such as a Householder and Listed Building Consent form). Should you be unsure as to which form is relevant to your application then please contact Planning Services, as the submission of the wrong form may result in your application being considered invalid.

Please note - We now only require one copy of forms, plans and supporting documentation for your planning application.  

Most applications will also require further information and plans to be submitted. Please use the the Epping Forest District Council Planning Application Validation Requirements Checklist for current guidelines, which should be read carefully to ensure the correct information is provided. Failure to provide the required information and/or plans will result in your application being considered invalid.

Most applications can be submitted online using the online form available from the Planning Portal

Some consents (such as prior approvals) cannot be applied for online at this time and forms can be downloaded from the paper forms page at the Planning Portal, these forms should then be posted to us with the required payments.  A copy of the up-to-date fee sheet is available below.

If you need to find out if a planning condition has been discharged the following form should be used:

 If you need to find out if a planning condition has been discharged the following form should be used:

As well as applying for planning permission, please remember you may also need the permission of others as well. While this list should not be considered exhaustive, examples include the following:


Other Council Services

  • If you are carrying out building work you may need Building Regulations approval. To determine this please contact Building Control.
  • If you live in a listed building, and/or the building is in a conservation area, you may need separate Listed Building Consent. You may need this even if you don’t need planning permission. For further information or to find out if a building is listed, please contact Heritage Conservation.
  • If you live in an ex-council house, you probably need permission from the Housing Directorate to carry out the work. For further information, see details on Covenants and approvals (council properties).
  • Building within 8 metres of a watercourse requires Land Drainage consent. For further information please contact Flooding and Land Drainage.


The Party Wall Act

This is a matter of civil law, in other words it is between you and your neighbour, and does not involve the council. It does however mean that you may be required to notify your neighbour in writing before you start any building works if the work falls into one of the following categories:

  • Work to an existing wall or structure shared with another property
  • Building a wall of a building or a freestanding wall up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring owner
  • Excavating within 3 or 6 metres of a neighbouring building or structure.

Advice on party wall matters can be obtained by contacting the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. There is also an explanatory booklet produced by the Department of Communities and Local Government.


Building Over or Close to Sewers

If you are building over or within 3 metres of a public sewer you may need the local Water Authority’s permission. In most cases this is Thames Water Utilities (TWU) Note: TWU insists that any drain, laid before 1st October 1937, serving more than one property is a public sewer. 

After 1st April 2002, Building Regulations applications for new buildings and extensions, which involve building over or within 3 metres of a public sewer, must be Full Plan applications and a Building Notice application is therefore not acceptable.

For details of public sewers and building over agreements please contact Thames Water’s Asset Data Services.


Contaminated Land

Under its Part IIA Environmental Protection Act 1990 duties, this authority has identified potentially contaminated sites within the district and has prioritised these for further inspection.  Details of how the Part IIA requirements are being implemented in this district are contained in the council's Contaminated Land Strategy, and details can be found  in Contaminated Land Development Conditions.  


If you are aggrieved by the decision of the Local Planning Authority to refuse permission or approval for the proposed development, you may appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in accordance with Section 78 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  Appeals for England and Wales are dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate and not by the Local Authority.





 Contact us....

Telephone: 01992 564476

Or you can write to us, or visit our reception desk (open Monday-Friday 9am-1pm) at:
Development Control, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street,  Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ


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