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Thanks for your enquiry.
You do not normally need to make a planning application to form a new access, or to improve an existing access, unless the access would be onto a classified road (an A, B or C class road). The Development Control section of your Council should be able to advise you/confirm to whether the road is classified.
If it is a classified road, then I'm afraid a formal planning application will need to be made.
I hope this assists and confirms the legal position.
Please let me know if you require any clarification.