The Council are best placed to advise on the constantly-changing rules that govern the process of determining planning applications.
At the Town Hall one is able to make an appointment to meet the designated Duty Planning Officer without much notice. He/she should be able to give you all the guidance you need to conform with the latest local regulations.
Notwithstanding the legal position, it is always good practice to discuss your plans with your immediate neighbours, and the local FRA planning representative.
One piece of advice that we would issue as a generality is that it is “your responsibility” to ensure that any approval received conforms with all regulations, not just those of the planning function. Highways aspects are not always dealt with by planning approval, so plans passed by the Planning Department my fall foul of Highways restrictions. Likewise, the Environment Agency should always be consulted about riverside development work, as they can override the local authority.