Planning Basics

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.

Planning permission

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;
  • education;
  • 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

The other pages on our website have more information on particular aspects of planning. You could also try the national Planning Portal website. Planning Aid England also provides free advice.

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact us.


Get in touch


South Staffs Council

Wolverhampton Road, Codsall

South Staffordshire


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Office Opening Times

If you are unable to find what you need online today please contact us on 01902 696000.

Mon-Tue,Thu-Fri 09:00am - 17:00pm
Wed 10:00am - 17:00pm
Sat-Sun Closed

Face to Face appointments are available but must be pre booked in advance of your visit by calling 01902 696000.