Planning Permission in the Pyrénées-Orientales


Planning permission in FranceIf you are intending to extend, renovate, install a pool, build a garage…you may find the following information, supplied by Olivier of TPM, useful.


Once you have a clear idea of your project, its size and position, take your rough plans to the mairie and ask to see the ‘responable de l’urbanisme.’ (Be careful – in smaller communes they may only be present one day per week) He or she will refer to the ‘cahier de charge’ or ‘code d’urbanisme’ with you, in order to check that your plans do not contravene any local or national regulations (colour of roof tiles and exterior walls, height restrictions, distances from neighbours….)  He will also tell you what documents you need to provide for your application.

☛ Pick up the necessary forms from the mairie or download them from

☛ The  two most common  types of planning permission are  the ’permis de construire’ for new build, extension, or changing of an existing structure (with a surface area greater than 20 m²) and the ‘Déclaration préalable’ or ‘Declaration de travaux’  for small improvements, which do not  alter the use of the building (constructions between 2 and 20 m²)

Planning permission in France☛ If the total habitable space, (SHON – Surface Hors Oeuvre Nette) including the existing building is greater than 170m² in total,  you must use a registered architect.

☛ Once you have obtained your ‘permis de construire’ it is valid for two years after which you must reapply if you have not already begun construction (although you may ask for a two month extension)

☛ If your planning permission is refused you may appeal within up to two months of the refusal

☛ Planning consent is granted/refused by the DDE  (direction départementale de l’équipement or DDE)

☛ Neighbours may also appeal against your planning permission up to two months after it has been granted.

☛ You are legally obliged to publish the planning permission on the site where the building is to take place.

☛ If the extension is less than 170m2 total surface area, you may apply for the planning permission yourself, and do not have to have the plans drawn up by a qualified architect.

☛ If the extension is more than 170m2 total surface area, you must have your plans drawn up or at least signed by a qualified architect. This can cost you between 3000 and 5000€ (even just for the signature)

☛ As with all French bureaucracy, there is loads of paperwork, both before and after – prepare yourself for churning out documents in triplicate and in quadruplicate!.

Obviously, there is much more to take into account but the above is a little ‘food for thought’.


Some vocabulary to help you fill in the planning permission form

agrandissement – enlargement
aménagement – fitting out
attestation – certificate
batiment – building
cadre réservé à la mairie du lieu de construction – official use only
cas particulier – special circumstances
clotures – fencing
cochez la case – tick the box
droits de construire – building rights
engagement – commitment facultatif – optional
fiche d’aide – help sheet
identité du demandeur – Your name and address
localisatiion – exact positon (address)
lotissement – estate
maison individuelle – detached house
mandataire – proxy, delegate
menuiseries – joinery
nature des travaux envisagé – type of intended building work
plafond – ceiling
précisions complémentaires – supplementary information
propriété – property
références cadastrales… get these references from your local mairie
situation juridique – legal situation
superficie totale – surface area
Surface Hors Oeuvre Nette (SHON) – surface area taken up by the extension
terrain – land
toitures – roofing

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