Planning permission - when to apply

If you build property or develop land without the necessary planning permission, the council may force you to put things right later. Before you start development work, you should ask the council’s local planning office about planning permission.

When you need to apply

You'll need to apply for planning permission to:

  • add to or extend a flat or maisonette, including those converted from houses
  • divide part of your house for use as a separate home (for example, a self-contained flat or bed-sit)
  • use a building or caravan in your garden as a separate residence for someone else
  • build a separate house in your garden
  • build something which isn't allowed under the original planning permission for your house (for example, a planning condition imposed to stop you building a fence in the front garden because the house is in an ''open plan'' estate)

You can discuss your planning proposals with the council planning office for your area. For more information about planning permission, go to the Planning Portal. 

When you don't need to apply

You can make certain minor changes to your home without planning permission. You have 'permitted development rights' to fit an alarm or build walls and fences below a certain height. 

Under permitted development rights, you don't need planning permission for certain works. But these works must meet certain conditions. For example, there are dimension restrictions when building an extension

To check minor work  is under permitted development rights, contact the council planning office for your area. The Planning Portal identifies improvement work or changes homeowners can do without planning permission.

Areas of special interest (designated areas)

If you live in a designated area, your permitted development rights are restricted. You'll need to apply for planning permission to make changes or do certain works:

  • to a listed building
  • in a conservation area
  • in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

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