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Applying to North Dorset District Council

Information on applying to North Dorset District Council for planning permission, including advice on permitted development.

Development Services Handbook

The North Dorset District Council Development Services Handbook (opens in a new window) is to be used as a guide and introduction to planning to make it as clear and straightforward as possible for you to use the services offered by North Dorset District Council's Development Service. 

Advice and guidance

From 1 April 2011 we introduced charges which cover most aspects of planning advice; these fees are payable before any advice is given. Free, informal advice is no longer given over the telephone or to visitors to our offices, but you can receive free advice and help with most of your general planning questions, including what documents you need to provide to support your application, on the National Planning Portal (opens in a new window)

Do I need planning permission?

This depends on what you want to do. Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without the need for planning permission. The government has given a range of minor developments planning permission so that you don't need to apply for extra permission for them. This is called Permitted Development.

There are three ways to determine whether planning permission is required:

  1. You can come to your own decision as to whether any planning permission is required by looking at the general advice available from the National Planning Portal (opens in a new window) The planning portal has an Householders interactive house (opens in a new window) web page that may help you. Please note that if you decide to determine whether you need planning permission yourself, that this will be entirely at your own risk.
  2. You can apply for a formal decision as to whether planning permission is required by applying for a lawful development certificate (opens in a new window) for which a fee is payable (set nationally)
  3. You can obtain a written opinion from the council as to whether planning permission is required by completing the appropriate advice request form found at the Permitted Development link below. A fee is payable for this service to cover the cost of an officer investigating the planning history and reviewing the submitted information.

Permitted Development

You may be able to make minor changes to your property without needing to apply for formal planning permission under a general planning permission granted by Parliament known as "permitted development rights".

Pre-Application Advice

Pre-Application advice is an important aspect of the planning process. Early discussion of proposals can give applicants an improved chance of permission being granted or, at least, an understanding of the reasons which might lead to a refusal.

Make a planning application

The Planning Portal not only provides general information and guidance on the planning process, it enables you to submit and view your planning applications. Before you download the planning application form consider the many benefits of applying online:

  • The user-friendly system is quick to use
  • You will receive step-by-step help and advice as you go through the application process
  • Attach plans and drawings - no need for printing or photocopying
  • Save time and money - no postage costs and we will receive your application immediately
  • Calculate correct fee yourself using the online fee calculator
  • Secure online payment by credit or debit card direct to local planning authority

Before applying

We require certain statutory information in order for the application to be registered as valid. This in most cases includes a Planning Fee. Read more about the cost of planning applications (opens in a new window).

Before applying please read:

  1. The Planning Application Requirements document before applying, checking both National and Regional requirements (pdf, 547kb) (opens in a new window). This document (which is also referred to as the validation checklist) specifies the documentation and supporting information which will be required before an application can be registered. Failure to comply with the requirements will render the application invalid. For guidance there is also the Explanation of Local Requirements document (pdf, 126kb) (opens in a new window)
  2. The Local Flood Risk Standing Advice for North Dorset before applying (pdf, 286kb) (opens in a new window)

 Planning applications are decided in line with the North Dorset local planning policy unless there are very good reasons not to do so. Points that will be considered include the following:

  • Number, size, layout, siting and external appearance of buildings
  • Proposed means of access, landscaping and impact on the neighbourhood
  • Availability of infrastructure, such as roads and water supply
  • Proposed use of the development


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