Planning permission

Hunsett Mill and the award-winning cottage extension

We are the local planning authority for all land and properties within our executive area.

Therefore, we are responsible for processing and managing most forms of development in the Broads.

Planning permission is approval to start building or altering a building or piece of land. There are some developments which don't require it and you can find out more about whether you need planning permission. In most cases however you will need to get the relevant planning approval before you can begin.

Specific Broads-related work which generally requires planning permission includes new piling or quay-headings and the creation of new moorings, cuts and fishing platforms. Our design guides on these subjects will give you an idea of what we expect, please read them and return the completed questionnaire. Extending a garden into different areas of land like grazing marsh or arable field will also require permission. Domestic wind turbines and mooring of residential boats always requires permission.

More information about planning permission can be found in the Handy Guide to Planning.

Nutrient Neutrality

Last updated: 7 November 2022

We are finalising a Norfolk Nutrient calculator as well as improved mapping.

If you wish to find out more about Nutrient Neutrality or think it applies to your scheme, please contact the Development Management Team on 01603 610734

Alongside all other local planning authorities in Norfolk, the Broads Authority has received a letter dated 16 March 2022 from Natural England concerning nutrient pollution in the protected habitats of the Broads Special Area of Conservation and Ramsar site. The letter advised that new development within the catchment of these habitats comprising overnight accommodation has the potential to cause adverse impacts with regard to nutrient pollution. Such development includes, but is not limited to:

  • new homes,
  • student accommodation,
  • care homes,
  • tourism attractions,
  • tourist accommodation,
  • permitted development (which gives rise to new overnight accommodation) under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, and
  • Any development not involving overnight accommodation, but which may have non-sewerage water quality implications.

The Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2017 require local planning authorities to ensure that new development does not cause adverse impacts to the integrity of protected habitats such as the Broads prior to granting planning permission. At present there are no identified mitigation solutions available locally to resolve these impacts.

Whilst the Authority assesses the implications of these matters, it cannot lawfully conclude that development within the catchment of the Broads Special Area of Conservation and Ramsar site will not have an adverse effect. Therefore, until these matters are resolved the Authority will not be able to grant planning permission for developments comprising overnight accommodation within the affected catchments.

The Authority will be working closely with its neighbouring authorities and Natural England to better understand the implications and identifying possible options for mitigation to ensure sustainable development can proceed. Unfortunately, at present it is not possible to state how long this may take to resolve. However, the Authority will keep this webpage up to date with more information as it arises.

Working with the other Norfolk LPAs, we have also produced some Frequently Asked Questions (PDF).

July 2022 update

In July, the Government issued further information about Nutrient Neutrality and steps to be taken to assist with the delivery of mitigation schemes to help enable development to proceed. Mitigation schemes within the affected areas will be necessary to enable further development such as housing growth to be permitted.

A Written Ministerial Statement made by George Eustice (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) was issued on 20 July 2022

This sets out that the government will:

  • Place a legal duty on water companies to upgrade wastewater treatment works by 2030 in nutrient neutrality areas
  • Require Natural England to establish and deliver a Nutrient Mitigation Scheme

The government advice was followed by a letter about nutrient neutrality and habitats regulations assessment from Joanna Averley (Chief Planner) issued 21 July 2022.

The Norfolk Authorities are working together to ensure consistency of approach on Nutrient Neutrality. The contents of the Written Ministerial Statement and Chief Planner letter are therefore being considered carefully to establish whether this provides a basis for enabling permissions to be issued now with conditions/restrictions or, whether there is a need to wait until there is better understanding of mitigation schemes to be delivered by Natural England and confirmation that those schemes are deliverable. Further updates will be provided once clarity has been established.

In relation to the use of Natural England Nutrient Calculators and the Habitats Regulations process, the Court of Appeal decision in R (Wyatt) v Fareham BC & Natural England was issued on 15 July 2022. Thisconfirms that Local Planning Authorities can rely on the guidance of Natural England via their nutrient calculator tools. However, these are not the only tools that can be used when calculating nutrient loading, they are merely one way of carrying out an “appropriate assessment” and their use is not therefore mandatory. However, the Court of Appeal decision suggests that a planning authority ought to follow the methodology suggested by the statutory nature conservation body unless it has good reason not to do so.

Royal Haskoning are continuing with their work on behalf of the Norfolk Authorities which includes the development of a bespoke nutrient calculator for the Norfolk catchments. They are also exploring the identification of mitigation solutions for the short, medium, and long term.

Further updates on the progress of the work of Royal Haskoning will be provided by the Norfolk Authorities.

To apply for planning permission

  • Check what supporting documents you need to provide on our validation checklists.
    Validation Checklist 1 gives advice on what information and documents will be required by the Broads Authority to accompany any planning application.
    Validation Checklist 2 highlights what additional information and documents (i.e. reports and surveys) applicants will need to submit for more complex proposals .
  • Check what fee will apply on the fees schedule or calculate the appropriate fee using the Planning Portal online calculator
  • Apply online through the Planning Portal
  • Or download the form to print and post. You'll need to send the original and copies of all forms, plans and supporting information. Find which form you want from this application forms list with links to the printable versions.

If we need anything else after you've applied, we'll be in touch.

Please email us if you require any guidance.