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 council’s 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 Planning NI 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’ some 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).

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

Areas of special interest (Designated Areas)

In certain areas, 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 would ordinarily be classified as permitted development had these designations not been in place. 

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