Oh dear. Things are never straightforward are they? Having spent ages checking and double checking the planning application form it turns out that I have sent in payment for the wrong amount.
Instead of submitting the required £179 or whatever it was for a planning application I have sent in a £59 payment which relates to a different process altogether.
The £59 process uses a different form and is simply a process that will confirm whether or not I need planning permission. After several weeks in the system before being rejected because of the payment amount and then several days trying to contact the planning department to make sense of their letter and correct this I finally spoke with a planner today. They suggested that I could fill out the £59 form but then if it turns out I do need planning permission then I will still have to start the planning process again and still have to pay another £179.
After a quick deliberation I decided to just go straight for the planning process as my bet is that based on what I understand of the rules so far I just fall within the scope of needing planning permission so if it shortens the process and saves me some money in the long term that has to be the best way forward. I paid the outstanding balance immediately by phone to avoid further delay. It does seem annoying though that the build is so simple that I should be able to have a 5 minute phone call with a planner that does this kind of thing every day who should be able to quickly whether I will or wont need planning permission and why. Does it really warrant a several week process and extra expense?