Government Policy and Guidance | Colchester Borough Council

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Government Policy and Guidance

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How we set our planning policies and how we decide planning applications.


  • How we make our planning decisions
  • Examples of building projects
  • The Government's laws and orders

We set our own local planning policies through our Local Plan.

However, this plan, as well as how we decide on planning applications, has to be in line with Government policies.

Where permission is needed the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is the main document that influences the decision on any application.

The document should be read as a whole as it gives an overview of what the planning system is trying to achieve.

There is also the Planning Practice Guidance that provides more detail on subjects such as: 

The General Permitted Development Order 2015 (GPDO) sets out building projects that can be started without the need for planning permission.

A simple interactive visual guide gives examples of these types of projects.

View Interactive House

Central Government also sets Acts of law and Orders of Parliament. These form the legal basis of the planning system.

Key Acts

Key Orders

Consultation on proposed Government changes to the planning system are found through their published papers which anyone can comment on in order to try and influence the changes before they are made.

Once the consultation responses have been considered, the Government will go on to make any further announcements including the final published changes.

What to do now?


If you are unsure if you need planning permission or you want to check if your building project would be a permitted development.

Submit a Certificate of Lawfulness

If you know you need planning permission, but would like specific advice.

Submit a pre-application

If you know you need planning permission, but don't want specific advice.

Apply for planning permission

If you want to apply for Building Control approval.

Apply to building control

Things to Know before you Apply

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