The point of planning
The planning system exists to balance the need for new development and the rights of the residents whom development affects. It does so by granting or refusing planning permission. Planners base their decisions on:
- national and local law and policy;
- professional advice from specialists; and
- comments from local residents and their elected councillors.
Before you start work on any development, that development must have planning permission. Development is:
"building, engineering, mining or other operations, in, on, over or under land, or […] any material change in the use of a building or other land."
( Town & Country Planning Act 1990: Part III Section 55 )
Development is not:
- works to maintain, repair or improve an existing building (unless it is listed);
- the use of a residential building (such as a garage) for a different residential purpose (such as a home gym); or
- the use of any land for agriculture.
Even if you do not need planning permission, you may need to apply for other consents listed building consent or building regulations approval, for example.
Your local planning authority
You get planning permission from your local planning authority (LPA). In Staffordshire, there are two levels of local planning authority: district and county.
South Staffordshire Council is a district authority. We grant permission for:
- new buildings, extensions and alterations that affect the appearance of a building;
- changes of use of land or buildings;
- sub-division of a house into two or more flats;
- new accesses onto public highways, including pedestrian accesses; and
- special consents for work on listed buildings.
If you plan to do any of these things, please talk to us first.
Staffordshire County Council grants planning permission for things that need wider co-ordination, like:
- highways and byways;
- mining or minerals extraction;
- engineering works such as tipping; and
- recycling and other waste disposal.
We do not have the power to make decisions on these matters, although we do tell the County Council what we think of each proposal.
Your parish council is not an LPA. However, we consult them on every application for planning permission in their parish. They give us valuable local knowledge and help to summarise residents' views.
Find out more
If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us.