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The Planning process can be complex, with applications dealt with in accordance with the Town and Country Planning Acts and other Government guidance.
However, the majority of development proposals are relatively straight forward, with many involving house extensions or alterations. For these, the Planning Portal publishes a simple explanatory guide which helps you decide whether you need planning permission and if so explains how to apply.
For commercial businesses, the Department for Communities and Local Government (previously Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) offers additional advice.
Before making an application you should also read the Planning Policy pages which includes details of the policies that will be used when judging planning applications.