Planning guidance for householders

If you are a householder who wishes to make alterations to your property, you may need to apply to the council for planning permission.

We can only advise on properties that are within the New Forest district. Before contacting us, you can confirm that your address falls within the district by using our online postcode lookup below.

If your property is within the New Forest National Park, you will need to apply to the Park Authority for planning permission.

If your property is within the New Forest district, you can apply for planning permission using the online form below.

We also provide planning guidance for businesses and planning guidance for developers.

On this page:

Requirements for planning permission

Some minor alterations can be carried out without the need to apply for planning permission. This is known as 'permitted development' and can include house extensions, fences and outbuildings. Find out more about permitted development rights for householders.

However, there are a number of restrictions that may apply to your property. These will affect the extent to which you can undertake projects without obtaining planning permission. The National Planning Portal contains a lot of information including an interactive house.

You can check with us if you need planning permission by submitting an enquiry form. You should also include details of your project and the relevant fee. We will provide an opinion in writing as to whether the work does or does not require permission, though this is not a legally binding decision.

If you would rather have a legally binding decision on whether you need planning permission, you can submit a certificate lawful proposed development application form. You should also provide accurate details for your project and the relevant fee. You will receive a formal decision as to whether or not your proposal is permitted development, or if an application for planning permission is required.

Once you have obtained planning permission, or if your work is permitted development, you may need to obtain consent under Building Regulations. Find out more on our .

If you do need planning permission you may wish to seek advice on whether the proposals are acceptable.  Find out more about our pre-application planning advice.


Nutrient neutral development

Development in areas with nitrogen-rich water must mitigate its effects and provide a nutrient-neutral environment.  

Evidence has shown that at some designated sites in New Forest, there are high levels of nitrogen in the water environment with evidence of eutrophication. This means a body of water has become so enriched with minerals and nutrients that it causes an excessive growth of algae.  As a significant effect cannot be ruled out, an avoidance and mitigation package will be needed in order for us to lawfully grant any planning permission where there is an increase in the number of dwellings in certain areas of the District. This is in accordance with The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

You can find out more about  nutrient neutral development


Permission in principle

The permission in principle (PiP) consent route is an alternative way of obtaining planning permission for housing-led development. PiP separates the consideration of matters of principle for proposed development from the technical detail of the development.

The PiP route has two stages:

  1. The permission in principle stage establishes whether a site is suitable in principle.
  2. The technical details consent stage is when the detailed development proposals are assessed.

Article 5B of the Permission in Principle (Amendment) Order 2017 sets out development that is specifically excluded from a grant of permission in principle. This includes habitats development and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development. 

As a result of this, we are unable to accept any applications for Permission in Principle. This is because the area includes and is close to a number of significant environmental designations of international nature conservation importance.

If your development consists of one or more new dwellings in European nature conservation areas within New Forest, you will have to contribute to mitigating the impact of your development.

The New Forest European and Solent Coast European sites include European nature conservation designations such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). These locations are detailed below.

New Forest European Sites

  • The New Forest SAC.
  • The New Forest SPA.
  • The New Forest Ramsar site. 

Southampton Water and Solent Cost European Sites

  • The Solent Maritime SAC.
  • The Solent and Southampton Water SPA.
  • The Southampton and Isle of Wight Lagoons SAC.
  • The Solent and Southampton Water Ramsar site.
  • The River Avon SAC.
  • The River Avon SPA.
  • The Avon Valley Ramsar site.
  • The Dorset Heaths SAC.
  • The Dorset Heathlands SPA.
  • The Dorset Heathlands Ramsar site. 
Householders can make minor changes to their property without planning permission.
New dwellings in European nature conservation areas must be mitigated by a financial contribution.

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