Do I need planning permission?

For other important planning pages please click on the related pages link in the Page Contents menu.

This page assists with planning enquiries and how to obtain a response from planning.

Before you complete the form, it is important to read each of the steps as they contain information and self-service links.

  • Step 2 and Step 3 explain more about finding out if your development needs planning permission
  • Step 4 explains how the Preapp service works, what is included in the service, the fees and what you need to provide.

You may want to appoint a professional (agent) to act on your behalf, this can be anyone that you wish to appoint, for example a builder, architect, planning consultant, loft company or someone familiar with the planning process. If you use an agent for your planning advice request all correspondence and enquiries will be with your agent, so please contact them if you have any queries.

Step 1: Check the site for planning history, planning constraints and whether it is part of Bedford Borough

Check the interactive planning map for the address. We cannot advise on matters not in the Bedford Borough area. You can move round the map to pinpoint the site, identify planning history and some planning constraints for example conservation areas, protected trees etc. Please refer to the how to guides for help with using the map and other planning matters.

Step 2: Are the works permitted development?

Permitted development allows some development to be carried out without the need to apply for planning permission.

This step explains what you need to do for confirmation from planning and provides some self-service links.

For residential properties and shops check the interactive guides on the planning portal for information about permitted development. See also the government's Permitted development rights for householders technical guidance. (PDF)

All HMOs in Bedford and Kempston require planning permission as an Article 4 directive has removed permitted development rights. See more about HMOs and planning law

For confirmation from planning that something, is or is not, permitted development, you must apply as follows:

The links above will take you straight to our planning applications submissions page with steps to follow. 

For additional guidance about what to submit, the application process, and a section on lawful development certificates, please refer to the submission information page.

Step 3: Finding planning guidance online 

Our How to guides provide assistance with planning matters. For example:

  • how to find use classes of buildings / land
  • how to amend planning applications (Guide 6)
  • how to discharge conditions
  • how to find applications and documents

Step 4: Submit a planning enquiry for a response from planning

Before completing the form please read this information:

Fees and exemptions list (PDF) - this details how the service operates, the fees and any exemptions.  

Documents to be submitted with the request: You must supply an Ordnance Survey, to scale, location plan with the site outlined in red, this must not be a screenshot, photo or a copy from any website. 

Planning can only respond based on the information you supply and cannot design the scheme for you, therefore you must provide as much detail as possible such as the parameters of the development, design etc that you want us to consider and advise on. If you are using an agent all correspondence will be with them. To find out more about the planning process please see

Please ensure the description of the development is clear and detailed on the form, failure to do so will result in the request being invalidated. 

Personal data and release of information: For details on personal data please see the privacy notice on the e-form and the details on Please also note pre-application documentation can be released under EIR and FOI regulations.

Important note: For permitted development queries as explained in Step 2 above, please submit a lawful development certificate not a request for Preapp advice which is informal only, not legally binding and only based on what you have supplied. Preapp advice would therefore not be sufficient to confirm the development is permitted development / does not need planning permission and you would still be required to submit a lawful development certificate to provide legal certainty.

Request for pre-application and other planning advice

The e-form will quote the relevant fee, accept payment, and you can attach relevant documentation. 

You can also request a paper form: Request for pre-application advice form (PDF)

Other payment methods:

  • Telephone on 01234 718068 during business hours detailed here
  • Cheque to Bedford Borough Council quoting on the back the site address or e-form number provided after you submit.  

Archaeology advice

Minerals and waste pre-application enquiries

The minerals and waste planning service is provided by a team based at Central Bedfordshire Council. All minerals and waste related enquiries should be sent to:

See full details of the charging scheme:

Related pages