Is planning permission needed?

Is planning permission needed?

We offer the option of pre-application discussions before making a full Planning application.    More information is here.  This is available for all developments,  and particularly recommended for more detailed and complex major development proposals. 


Quick Links

  1. Do I need planning permission?
  2. Planning permission - for householders
  3. Applying for Change of Use
  4. Extending or building new commercial premises
  5. Other Planning Consents
  6. When Permitted Development rules do not apply
  7. Your property boundaries and ownership

1. Do I need planning permission?

Deciding if you need planning permission depends on the type and scale of the work that you wish to do.

We don't provide a free service to confirm this, but there are a couple of ways to find out.

Firstly, there is a lot of useful advice on the Planning Portal website, including the Interactive House/Terrace/Shop, Mini Guides and Common Projects which are easy to follow.

Another way to find out is by a Pre-Planning Application, where we can offer informal guidance as to whether Planning Permission is required .  This costs £50 for household work,  and for other work the cost depends on the type of application.  All the information you need is on our Pre Application Advice page.


2. For householders:

Please see here for guidance if you are planning to improve or extend your home.


3. Change of use:

In some cases changing the use of your property will not need permission. If the existing and proposed uses fall within the same Use Class (this defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987) then changes can be made without having approval from us. For example, changing from a clothing shop to a greengrocer does not need Planning Permission as both are within Use Class A1.

In some cases you can also change use between different use classes, without permission. For example you can change from Class A3 to Class A1 or A2 without planning permission.  There is further information at the Government guidance here, and at the Planning Portal.


4. Extending existing or building new premises

Everything but very minor extensions to commercial premises will need Planning Permission. Building new premises will also almost always require permission. For guidance on extending or building new premises refer to this guidance on the Planning Portal (external link).


5. Other planning consents

In addition to applying for detailed planning consent, you might need additional permissions in the following circumstances:

  • For information on shopfronts, or displaying adverts, signage or letting boards, see our webpage here.

It is a criminal offence to carry out works to listed buildings without getting listed building consent, and also to display an advertisement without consent.


6. When Permitted Development rights do not apply

Although works can often be done under "Permitted Development", there are some cases where the rights have been removed or restricted by an Article 4 direction or through a planning condition. In these cases, certain works would need permission. To check which parts of the city are covered by Article 4 Directions, please see our webpage here.

In some parts of the city, the ability to display Letting boards outside a property have been restricted through a Regulation 7 Direction.

7. Your property boundary

We can’t advise where site boundaries are unless the property is Council owned or ex-Council. 

You can find out here if the Council owns a property or a piece of land, or where to get more information.

You can get an idea of where the boundaries for your property are by looking at its title plan; find out more information here (external site)

There may also be Restrictive Covenants on your property that you would need to take into account; find out more information here (external site)



Did you know?

As well as applying for planning permission, you might also need to have a permission for:

• Carrying out works in a Conservation Area; 

• Making alterations to; or works which may affect a listed building

• Carrying out works to trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order or within a Conservation area.

• There is help on the above links to confirm if your property is in one of those categories .


Your development might affect wildlife and the green environment.   There are online tools available on our Wildlife and Ecology pages to check and get more advice.


Internal and external work to your property may need to have permission from Building Regulations.  Building Regulations consent is completely separate from Planning Permission and you should always check both before starting any work. You might still need Building Regulations consent even if you do not need Planning Permission, and vice versa.

Need more information?

When is Permission Required ?  (external link)

For guidance if Planning Permission is required, you can by submit a Pre-Application Enquiry.  If we consider that planning permission is required , we can offer advice for if the works you want to do are likely to be acceptable.

If you cannot find the information you need on our website, please email .


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