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FAQ

Top 5 questions

My neighbour is building something – have they applied for permission? And if so, can I comment on their application?

Details on how to search for planning applications can be found here https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningsearch and details on how to comment can be found here https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningcomment

Check the status of your planning application

Can you tell me who owns a piece of land?

The Council only has information on its own land and buildings. Contact assetmanagement@walsall.gov.uk or telephone 01922 658338 

Privately owned land contact Land Registry https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/land-registry

Most former Council houses are owned by Walsall Housing Group https://www.whg.uk.com

 

Where are my boundaries?

The Council does not have information about the boundaries of private land. You should check your property deeds and obtain advice from a surveyor, solicitor or other legal advisers.

Further information can be found on https://www.gov.uk/your-property-boundaries

Find out the history of your land/building

Find out the use class of your land/building

There are a couple of options available to confirm the Use Class.

 

Free History Search

You can carry out your own history search. This will identify what planning permissions exist which in turn may identify what the existing Use Class is. Please refer to our website on how to carry out a back history search https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningbuyorsell.

 

Caveat: A history search does not lawfully establish the existing permitted use as the permissions may or may not have been implemented. There may also be a complex history to the site, which means the permitted use may not be clearly identifiable.

 

Confirmation from the Council

If you require confirmation from the Council that a building or land has a certain Use Class, you will need to apply for a 'Lawful Development Certificate for an Existing Use'. Further guidance of this process can be found on our website https://go.walsall.gov.uk/lawful_development_certificate_of_existing_use.

 

Apply for a Change of Use

If you do not have sufficient information to submit a Lawful Development Certificate or you are of the opinion that planning permission is needed for a change of use then please refer to our website for further information on how to apply for a change of use permission https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningapply.

 

If your proposal is permitted development or you wish to check this please refer to our website for further information https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningpermitted.

 

Use Class Order

The Planning Portal have published an indication of the types of uses that may fall within each Use Class. Please note that the list is only a guide.  https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/9/change_of_use

How high can I build my fence?

General Questions

What is the difference between planning permission and building regulations?

Planning Permission

Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, cities and countryside develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access and the impact that the development will have on the general environment.

 

Building Control

Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power are conserved and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings.

 

For many types of building work, separate permission under both regimes (separate processes) will be required. For other building work, such as internal alterations, buildings regulations approval will probably be needed, but planning permission may not be.

 

If you are carrying out or having construction or building work done, you may need to notify the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and may have other duties as well under the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM 2015). Although a domestic client does not have duties under CDM 2015, those who work for them on construction projects will.

 

Further information, Guidance and contact details for Building Control can be found online https://go.walsall.gov.uk/building_control

Do you have a list of recommended architects?

Planning Permission

Do I need planning permission for a dropped kerb?

There are certain circumstances when planning permission is required for the creation of a new vehicular access, irrespective of whether or not the kerb needs to be dropped:

 

  • the access you wish to create is onto / from an A, B or C classified road (you may need to check this information with the Council's Traffic Management and Co-ordination Team https://go.walsall.gov.uk/domestic_vehicle_crossings)
  • the property is in a Conservation Area and you need to remove a gate pillar, wall or fence that is over 1 metre high
  • you need structural work to make the parking area
  • the property is divided into flats, maisonette, commercial or industrial premises
  • there is a planning condition restricting the creation of a vehicular access

 

If any of the above are relevant you will need to apply for planning permission for the construction work.

 

If the road is a D classification, and none of the above criteria applies, then you will not need planning permission.

 

Where new vehicular access is being created for a Listed Building / alterations to an existing gate, wall, fence or railings are necessary, Listed Building Consent may be required.

 

All new or altered dropped kerbs, verge or footway crossovers must be approved by the Highway Authority and the work is undertaken by an approved contractor, even if planning permission has been granted. This is covered by section 184 of the Highways Act 1980.

 

You must check if you need planning permission before a dropped kerb is installed and the information above has been provided for you to be able to carry out a check. Please note before construction of the dropped kerb can start the following steps need to be followed:

 

  1. Check to see if you need planning permission. (Note: the correct certificate of ownership must accompany your planning application. if you do not own the land you will need to present Certificate B otherwise your planning application cannot proceed)
  2. Seek approval from the Highway Authority.
  3. Choose a contractor;
  4. Your chosen contractor applies to the Highway Authority for a licence to construct the dropped kerb.
  5. The contractor notifies the Highway Authority when the works will commence.
  6. Construction starts and a Highway Officer inspects the construction during and after completion.

Do I need planning permission for - see a list of common projects?

To find out whether you need planning permission you can:

Can I get pre-application advice about something I am planning to do?

Find out if Permitted Development Rights have been removed

Planning Application Process

What documents do I need to make a planning application?

How much will my application cost?

Have you received my application?

Once your application has been received the application will be validated (which may take up to ten days) you can check on the progress of your application via 'Planning Applications Online'. See the 'Application stage' section once you have searched for your application by address or application number. This information is updated regularly.

 

Further information on what happens to your application can be found on our website https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningprocess

How long will it take to get a decision on my application?

We will try to determine your application within the following time periods but will strive where possible to better these timescales.

  • Major applications (10 or more houses, buildings over 1000 sq m or land over 0.5 hectares) in 13 weeks
  • Minor applications (industrial and commercial) in 8 weeks
  • Other applications (including domestic householder applications) in 8 weeks

 

Further information on what happens to your application can be found on our website https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningprocess

Why haven't I been consulted on a planning application?

The adopted Statement of Community Involvement sets out the consultation on planning applications. In summary, for all planning applications as a minimum, we will Inform any properties that directly adjoin the red line plan (location plan) or face the application site (example notification below) and may be extended wider on a site by site basis.

 

Example Notification Reproduced from the Ordnance Survey mapping with the permission of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office. © Crown copyright. © Crown copyright and database rights 2019 Ordnance Survey 100019529 Unauthorised reproduction infringes Crown copyright and may lead to prosecution or civil proceedings.

 

For major applications the Council will also Publish ‘Press Notices’ in a local newspaper where required by the Development Management Procedure Order 2015 (as amended) and Display a ‘Site Notice’ on or near the site where required by the Development Management Procedure Order 2015 (as amended).

 

The fact that you may not have received a letter from the Council does not prevent you from commenting on the application, and any comments you may make will be taken into account in the consideration of the application.

 

Please refer to our web page on how to search and comment on a planning application.

Can I speak to my case officer / validation officer?

We deal with a large number of calls, and in the first instance, please review the information on the pages below as your question may have been addressed there.

 

More information on the planning application process can be found here https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningprocess.

 

More information on validation requirements can be found here https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningwhatyouneed.

 

If the information above does not address your enquiry, and you would like to speak to the Case Officer/ Validation Officer, you will find their numbers at the top right hand side of the letter you received from them.

When can I start work?

Once you have received planning permission from us or if the permission you have received includes details to be approved by condition once those details are approved.

 

Just before starting any building works it is advisable to speak to Building Control

How long does planning permission last for?

Full permission is usually valid for three years. The exact time period will be conditioned on the planning decision notice.

Plans and Drawings

Can the Council draw my plans?

No, the Council cannot draw plans for your application. Please contact a qualified architect to draw your plans.

Where can I get a Location / Block Plan from?

You can buy Location / Block Plans from one of the Planning Portal's accredited suppliers https://www.planningportal.co.uk/homepage/4/buy_a_planning_map

Can I have a copy of the application / plans?

For more recent applications, plans can be viewed and printed off from the website https://go.walsall.gov.uk/planningsearch, please note that any plans printed on a regular A4 printer you may not be to scale from the drawings. Most drawings are between A3 to A0 and to scale from the drawings you will need to print the drawings on a large format printer.

 

For applications with a decision, the Council does not provide printed copies of the application or plans.

Conservation Area

Is my property within a conservation area?

Go to https://go.walsall.gov.uk/conservation_areas or use interactive map.

What is a Conservation Area?

The current legislation in England and Wales, the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (Section 69 and 70), defines the quality of a Conservation Area as being: "the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance". Further information is available on our website https://go.walsall.gov.uk/conservation_areas.

What is an Article 4 Direction and is my property within one?

To help preserve high-quality architectural features and ensure that changes are undertaken sympathetically, Article 4 directions are applied to certain conservation areas.

Article 4 directions restrict permitted development rights within a specified street or area. The directions only apply to houses that are in use as a single dwelling house. Commercial properties and flats do not have permitted development rights.

Under an Article 4 direction, external changes to elevations visible from public viewpoints require planning permission. It does not mean that works cannot be carried out, but simply that they are no longer automatically permitted.

The following list gives an indication of those changes requiring planning permission as a result of an Article 4 direction:

  • Changes to windows, doors, chimneys and other material alterations.  
  • Alterations to the roof of a house.
  • The addition of a porch. This would include infilling an open porch.
  • Construction of any building within the grounds of a house where this would be visible from any public viewpoint.
  • Putting down a hard surface, for example, a drive or replacing an existing drive.  
  • New boundary treatments like gates, walls and fences and the demolition of the original.
  • The painting of the exterior of a dwelling house or building within the grounds of the building.

Any reference to 'Alterations, improvements and enlargements to dwellings' in the Article 4 directions below would include the replacement of windows and doors, the alteration to or the creation of front porches, the paving of front gardens, the creation of a cross over, the replacement of roof materials, and erection, alteration or removal of a chimney, boundary wall, gates or any other architectural feature.

 

There are 8 Article 4 Directions in Walsall and the designations can be found here https://go.walsall.gov.uk/article_4_directions_within_conservation_areas

Listed Building

Is my property a Listed Building?

Go to https://go.walsall.gov.uk/listed_buildings or use interactive map.

What is a Listed Building?

A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on a statutory list maintained by Historic England. Listing marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system, so that it can be protected for future generations.

 

Further information can be found using the links below