Planning - Online Website Comments - NOTICE


IMPORTANT INFORMATION relating to the following text boxes below:

Letter ID - This is not required when leaving your comments, this due to an ongoing technical issue with the provider of the Letter ID system and should be ignored until resolved.


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Comments Box -The information regarding the 'Character Limit' of 32000, is incorrect, this box will only allow comments up to 1900 characters therefore this box should only be used for concise comments, more detailed comments should made direct to

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Thank you for your understanding of these technical issues they are being investigated by the provider. The  button below will take you to the Quick Planning Application Search Page. 



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 Planning Interactive Map


Epping Forest District Council has developed an Interactive Map which will allow you to search for the planning history of a property or site, using topographical information. The map combines planning records from 1948 to present day, allowing you to easily view the records that council has retained.

Using our map you can easily find the planning file number, planning reference number or location of an application via a simple address search. Data can be filtered by year in order to simply find the most recent applications for any location within our district.

If you have any feedback and/or queries please contact us at



The records available via the interactive map are provided solely in an attempt to be of assistance. Due to ongoing data improvement work the list of applications provided may not be fully complete. We would also advise that due to the passage of time some of the records for earlier years no longer exist.

If you choose to rely exclusively on this information the Council cannot accept liability for any consequent use you may make of the information provided.

Work is constantly in progress to improve the quality of this information. Should you require clarification or have any queries please contact us at



View Interactive Map









Planning Enforcement


The Council has a team of officers within the Directorate of Planning and Economic Development who are responsible for dealing with planning enforcement matters across the District. Planning enforcement is a discretionary service that is part of the Councils’ wider development control function. Even though the Council is not obliged by statute to provide a planning enforcement service, it recognises the importance of doing so in order to underpin the planning process. Furthermore, the Council recognises the benefits to residents and businesses in the District of taking prompt and appropriate action to deal with the harm that can sometimes be caused by breaches of planning control. At the same time, the Council acknowledges some breaches of planning control may not cause harm and/or have been carried out by a person who did not know the permission of the Council is required for the development concerned.

What does the Planning Enforcement Team do?

The Planning Enforcement Team can only investigate those matters that planning legislation places under the control of the District Council. These include:

  1. Development, including changes of use, without planning permission.
  2. Works affecting the special architectural or historic character of a listed building without Listed Building Consent.
  3. Demolition of a building in a conservation area without Conservation Area Consent.
  4. Removal of a tree in a conservation area without consent.
  5. Causing damage to or removal of a preserved tree without consent.
  6. The removal of more than 20 metres of continuous hedgerow without consent, where the length of hedgerow removed does not form a boundary with a residential property.
  7. Display of an advertisement without consent.

Our Local Enforcement Plan was adopted in December 2013 and gives details of how we investigate complaints and how you can make a complaint.

The Planning Enforcement Team’s primary concern is to deal with harm caused by breaches of planning control. To do so, it follows a process that starts with opening an investigation into alleged breaches of planning control and normally concludes when:

  • It is found there has in fact been no breach, or
  • Planning permission is subsequently granted, or
  • The harm caused by the breach has been dealt where the planning legislation allows.

However an enforcement investigation can also be closed if the Planning Enforcement Team considers that the harm from the unauthorised works is minor or if they consider that a retrospective planning application would likely be granted planning permission.

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.





Planning - development control

Development control regulates the development and use of land. We cover planning applications and enforcement action. We monitor new developments and give advice about the planning system generally. We do not have control over building practices or property law.

Most planning applications are not contentious and are decided by our staff in accordance with the councils delegation agreement. However, large or potentially contentious applications are usually decided by panels of councillors.

We strive to provide the best service possible, but some planning applications can be complex and subject to variations in procedure. This can increase the time taken to make a decision. Delays can also develop for reasons outside our control.

What does the Development Control service offer?

We consider all applications for development, including changes of use of buildings, and for such things as the display of advertising and work to listed buildings

  • We give general advice on whether permission is needed and on design, listed buildings, conservation areas and trees affected by development
  • We give advice to encourage high quality applications, sustainable development and as smooth a passage through the planning system as possible
  • Where resources permit, we will try to negotiate an acceptable plan rather than refuse an unacceptable application without discussion
  • We consult with local people who may be affected by development proposals
  • We monitor development as it proceeds
  • We handle reports of breaches of planning control

Making Your Views Known - A guide to commenting on planning applications 

Making your views known

Our surroundings are in a process of constant change. Old buildings are demolished and replaced. Changes are made even to buildings familiar to generations of local people. Sometimes the changes are cosmetic such as a new advertising sign for a shop. Sometimes they are more substantial such as an extension or constructing an entirely new building.

Changes to buildings are governed by planning law. In most cases the developer needs to apply to the Council for planning permission before the changes can be made and in all cases the Council has to consider the application seriously.

We all have our own views on what makes a good or bad planning application. You don't need to own a property to make a planning application and you don't need to be a neighbour to object. No matter how trivial, major or outrageous you may think an application is, you have the right to object.

How do I comment?

Your objections or support for a planning application should be made to the Council in writing. We will accept your comments as late as possible but you are advised to try to reach us within the deadline set in our letters and notices to guarantee consideration of your views.

When we receive your letter, we are more likely to acknowledge receipt if you provide us with an email address. This email address will be used to let you know the next stage. Your comments or objections are not confidential. They form part of the public record when we consider the application and can be seen by the applicant.

You may also be able to speak directly to councillors at a plans meeting - see 'Who makes the decision' below for details.

Comments can be submitted electronically by going to our website

By law, we can only take your objections into account if they address relevant planning considerations. Relevant considerations include:

  • Is the new building or proposed use appropriate to the area?
  • Is the appearance of the new building satisfactory?
  • Will the development cause pollution, noise, flooding or other environmental problems?
  • Will there be loss of light to important rooms?
  • Will the development overlook and create loss of privacy?
  • Will the building appear bulky, overbearing or out of scale with neighbouring properties?
  • Is road safety or public footpaths adversely affected?

In other words, will the development make the area a less pleasant place in which to live or work. Loss of value to your property, motives or circumstances of the applicant, or any impact upon private rights, covenants or matters covered by other legislation are not relevant planning considerations. Generally, we are not able to enter into correspondence about the issues you raise.

The greater proportion of planning applications are decided by our planning officers. Only the most significant or controversial proposals are submitted to councillors on our planning committees plus those councillors call to committee as special cases. If your comments are on an application due to go to a planning committee we will do our best to let you know the date and venue of the meeting.

There is a right for three speakers to put their cases directly to planning committees, one for the applicant, one for the objectors and one for the local parish or town council. You will need to let us know by 4pm at the latest on the day before the meeting if you wish to speak. A leaflet - Your Voice Your Choice - gives more information on speaking at meetings.

However the application is decided, we will notify everyone who wrote to us of the decision.

If a planning application is granted approval, there is no right of appeal by objectors. However, if an application is refused, or if conditions are placed upon permission or the application is not considered within a certain timescale, the applicant can appeal. The decision is then taken out of the hands of the Council and given to a Government appointed Planning Inspector.

If we wrote to you or you made comments or an objection to an original planning application that then goes to appeal, we will write again to ask if you wish to make further comments to the Planning Inspector. However, there is an exception - due to changes in the Planning Act, we will write and inform you of a ‘householder appeal’ (extensions or outbuildings to dwellings), but you cannot make further comments. In all cases though, we will still send your original letter.

You can see us by visiting the Planning Reception on the second floor of the Civic Offices in Epping. You can look at a planning application at any time between 9.00 and 13.00. Without an appointment, case officers to help and advise you are usually only available from 9am to 10.30am but a duty planning officer is available up to 1pm.

Try to make your written comments clear and concise. Anonymous objections carry very little weight so please give your name and address.

You can also contact your local district councillor(s) online, or by telephone at 01992 464288 or from our Information Centres.

You are encouraged to copy any correspondence to your local Town or Parish Council. They do not decide the planning application but are a consultee. Your local council details are also available through our website or Information Centres.

New guidance on consultation from the Environment Agency 

Please note the new guidelines on consultation from the Environment Agency in respect of the recent changes under Class J of the GPDO concerning changes of use from offices to residential.

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