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Planning permission - when to apply

If you build something which needs planning permission without getting permission first, you may be forced to put things right later, which could prove troublesome and costly. If you are in any doubt, contact your local planning office.

When you need to apply

Here are some common examples where you would need to apply for planning permission:

  • adding to, or extending a flat or maisonette, including those converted from houses
  • dividing off part of your house for use as a separate home (for example, a self-contained flat or bed-sit)
  • using a building or caravan in your garden as a separate residence for someone else
  • building a separate house in your garden
  • building something which goes against the terms of the original planning permission for your house (for example, a planning condition may have been imposed to stop you putting up a fence in the front garden because the house is on an ''open plan'' estate)

For further advice on when you will need to apply for planning permission visit the DOE Planning website. You can also discuss your proposals by contacting your local area planning office. You can find the relevant information using the links below:

When you don't need to apply

You can make certain types of minor changes to your home without needing to apply for planning permission – for example, fitting an alarm box or putting up walls and fences below a certain height. These are called your 'permitted development rights'. Under ‘permitted development rights’ certain works can be carried out without planning permission – as long as they meet certain important conditions (such as those covering the dimensions and position of an extension).

New planning legislation came into operation on 6 April 2011 to introduce revised permitted development rights for development including extensions and alterations within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse and new domestic permitted development for solar panels, ground and water source heat pumps, solid biomass fuel storage and flues. You can get more information in the link below:

Further new planning legislation came into operation during 2012 and 2013 to provide:

  • revised permitted development rights for industrial buildings and warehouses
  • new permitted development rights for shops, financial and professional services establishments, office premises, schools, colleges, universities and hospitals and the demolition of buildings

To discuss your proposals and for further advice on when you will not need to apply for planning permission, contact your local planning office or visit the Planning website using the attached link:

Areas of special interest (Designated Areas)

In certain areas, otherwise known as designated areas, permitted development rights are more restricted. If you live in a listed building, a Conservation Area, a National Park, or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, then you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application for in other areas.

More useful links