The online tool makes it quicker and easier to check when and how to apply for planning permission

A free online service has been launched by Barnet Council to make the planning process simpler for residents looking to make changes to their homes.

The new tool, Find Out If You Need Planning Permission, makes it quicker and easier to check when and how to apply for permission for building works such as home extensions.

It is the first of several planning services that will be launched for Barnet residents, made possible by a £400,000 grant awarded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This first service provides planning guidance tailored to individual residents’ needs – in most cases in a matter of minutes.

Barnet Council is one of the busiest planning authorities in the country and dealt with almost 6,000 applications last year alone.

The most popular improvement works include rear extensions, dormers and garage conversions – often built by residents who want to expand their living space without having to move home.

Previously, people who wanted to make changes to their homes had to go through a complex process to find out if they needed planning permission.

Thanks to the new tool, residents can now get guidance quickly and easily after answering a series of questions about the work they want to do. The guidance will direct residents on what the next steps are, how to certify works are carried out lawfully and what other services are available to help them.

Barnet Council is one of the first local authorities to launch the service, which was developed with the support of councillors and senior officers.

Although the tool does not provide a planning decision or legal advice, it will help residents to understand when permission might be needed.

Cllr Ross Houston, Deputy Leader of Barnet Council and Cabinet Member for Homes and Regeneration, said:

“I’m delighted that Barnet is one of the first boroughs in the country to launch this innovative new service making the planning process quicker and easier for our residents. This will help hundreds of people every year.

“We’re committed to responsible development, and the new tool will help to ensure that building works are carried out lawfully while speeding up our planning system.”

To use this new service, go to www.barnet.gov.uk/find-outExternal link

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