Prior approvals

Prior approvals are applications that are permitted development but require the Council’s consideration of specific elements of the development are acceptable prior to commencing work. The matters for prior approval vary depending on the type of development and set out in the relevant Parts in Schedule 2 to the General Permitted Development Order. Whilst prior approvals are consulted by way of neighbour notification letters, a local planning authority cannot consider any other matters outside of the scope of those considerations when determining a prior approval application.

The most common examples of prior approvals in Epsom and Ewell are:

  • Householder single storey rear extensions up to 8m depth (detached dwelling) or 6m (any other dwelling) under Class A of Part 1 where neighbour amenity considerations are the only relevant consideration (known as prior notification)
  • Change of use of a mixed use building (often offices) to dwelling houses under Class MA of Part 3 where transport impacts, contamination and flooding risks, noise, internal light and floorspace and fire safety are the primary considerations
  • Demolition of buildings under Class B of Part 11 where demolition method and restoration details are the relevant considerations
  • New dwelling houses up to two storeys in height under various classes in Part 20, mostly on top of existing mixed use buildings, residential flat buildings and dwelling houses, where transport impacts, contamination and flooding risks, external appearance, neighbour impacts, noise, internal light and floorspace and fire safety are the primary considerations
  • Telecommunications masts under Class A of Part 16 where character and highway safety impacts are the relevant considerations.

The statutory requirements relating to prior approval are much less prescriptive than those relating to planning applications. This is deliberate, as prior approval is a light-touch process which applies where the principle of the development has already been established.

Submission of all applications should be done via the Planning Portal. Advice on submitting an application is found here. Fees are set by the government. Neighbour consultation will occur via a site notice and/or neighbour notification letter, depending on the specifics of each prior approval application. Decisions as to whether prior approval is required and whether it is granted or refused will be issued within 56 days.