How to make a planning application

If you want to build, alter and/or extend a building you may need to apply for planning permission and/or building regulations approval.  You may also need approval to change the use of land or buildings. 

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Please apply online ensuring that you submit all the information we need (see our validation checklists below which set out the information we will need before applications for planning permission are considered to be valid) 

The benefits of applying online include:

  • Immediate delivery and acknowledgement
  • Savings on postage and printing costs
  • Online help function when completing applications
  • Online record of your completed applications

If you want to build, alter or extend a building you may need to apply for planning permission or building regulations approval. 

Check to see if you need permission for household developments:

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Check to see if you need permission for common projects:

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View Planning Portal's mini guides which provide interactive guidance on the most common householder projects

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You can also make a pre-application enquiry about the feasibility of a proposed development.

You must get approval to change the use of buildings unless they are allowed under legislation. Some changes of use will need approval under the Building Regulations. To find out what changes will need a planning application and/or Building Regulations approval please refer to the Planning Portal. For information regarding Use Classes, click here.

Once you have made a planning application:

  • we will notify your neighbours
  • we will visit your site
  • we aim to make a decision within 8 weeks

The Notification/Prior Approval of rear householder extensions came into force on 30th May 2013.

This relates to single storey rear extensions only that project between 3 metres and 6 metres for a terrace or semi-detached and between 4 metres and 8 metres for a detached dwelling. Both of these measurements are taken from the back wall of the dwelling (as it was originally built).

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Most planning applications are now submitted online.  Registration is easy and you can complete your application form, buy site location plans, upload supporting documents and pay fees online.

The benefits of applying online include

  • You can work on your application in draft before submission.
  • Immediate delivery and acknowledgement.
  • Savings on postage and printing costs.
  • Online help function.
  • Online record of your completed applications.

Please note: a planning application cannot be progressed until all the necessary supporting information and the appropriate fee have been received.

Plans and Maps

Most planning applications require a location plan and a site plan (also known as a block plan)

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There are different types of development and each has its own requirements

View the Planning Portal advice on minimising validation delays

If you do not own the site, or your foundations will encroach onto land you do not own, you must complete a Certificate B and submit it with your planning application. A Notice No 1 for Individuals should be completed and given to the owner of the application site to inform them of your application.

If you are intending sending us information regarding a person(s) in support of your application please can you ensure that the information is contained in a separate document and marked as private and confidential.

Certificate B (pdf 34KB)
Notice No 1 for Individuals (pdf 128KB)

Some parts of Sefton have a long history of intense industrial activity and this has had an enormous impact on the condition of much of the land. Also, in common with many urban areas, Sefton has a large proportion of land which has been redeveloped at least once. In many cases when a site comes forward for further redevelopment, contamination may be present.

Government guidance advises that a potential contamination is a material planning consideration and that developers will be required to ensure that land is decontaminated as part of the planning process. For many sites in the Borough and many forms of development it will be necessary to address the issue of land contamination.

This can be a complex and lengthy procedure. If your site is contaminated a survey will need to be carried out. This may sometimes be a desktop exercise but often a full ground investigation will be required with appropriate remedial measures agreed and carried out. Detailed advice and guidance on contaminated land has been produced by our Environment Department and should be referred to at the earliest stage possible prior to making a planning application.

By law, we must take into account the following:

  • Government advice set out in circulars, planning guidance notes and ministerial statements
  • Our local planning policies - our Development Plan sets out most of our planning policies. There are also supplementary planning guidance notes which set out certain policies and standards in more detail.
  • Other planning issues for example, written comments of those we must consult about proposals, including local residents and businesses. 

We consider each application on its merits, but if a proposal meets our policies and standards, we will usually grant planning permission, even if we receive objections from neighbours.

Who decides whether or not to grant planning permission?

The decision is taken by the following people:

Senior Planning Officers. If the application is straightforward and meets our policies and standards, planning officers can decide most applications, even if objections are received.

The Planning Committee. If the proposal is a major scheme or a councillor asks for the application to be considered by the Committee, planning officers will prepare a report for the committee meeting. The agenda is available five working days before the meetings, so committee members (who are elected councillors) can make an informed decision. 

How do I have my comments considered?

You may want to support an application or object to it. If you want to make any comments on an application, you can:

  • Write to us. If you intend to present a petition you should tell the Planning Department in writing. Please contact us to confirm deadline dates for your comments. You can make comments on line within the time limit for the application.
  •  Present a petition. It is possible for you to submit a petition in support or against a proposal. If you do this, and get the petition endorsed by a Sefton councillor, the application will then be determined by the Planning Committee. The councillor cannot be a member of Planning Committee. Your petition must be signed by 25 or more Sefton residents who object to or support the proposal. If you do this, you/a representative will be able to address the committee for up to 5 minutes to put your case forward.

Our Democratic Services Team must receive your petition no later than 10 am on the Friday before the Planning Committee meeting. In advance of this you must also inform the Planning Department in writing that you intend to present a petition before the expiry of the neighbour notification period for the application. You can contact our Democratic Services Team on 0151 934 2046 who can advise you of times, dates and venues of committees or alternatively you can view committee information on our website.
If you do not get the support of a councillor, the petition will be treated as a written comment.

  • Contact a councillor. The councillor can ask for the application to be considered by the Planning Committee. Councillors on the Planning Committee will not be able to give an opinion on the application before the committee meeting.

You may attend the Planning Committee meeting, but you cannot speak to the Committee (unless you are representing a petition as in the bullet point above).

What decision can be made?

Applications can be:

  • Approved, usually with conditions attached (for example, that brick samples are approved by us before the work begins). 
  • Refused, in which case the reason for the refusal must be a planning reason. The applicant can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against a refusal. By law, neighbours have no right to appeal against a planning decision they disagree with; or
  • Withdrawn by the applicant.

How can I find out about a decision?
You can see a summary of all decisions on the View Planning and Building Regulations Applications page.

Building Regulations: No, but whilst there is not requirement in the Building Regulations to consult your neighbours, it would be prudent to do so. In any event, you should be careful that the work does not encroach on their property.

Planning: Yes, if Planning Permission is needed, we will ask your neighbours and other organisations for their comments. They will usually have at least 21 days in which to make any written comments.

Objections may be raised under other legislation e.g. the Party Wall Act 1996.


Last Updated on 25 September 2017