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Planning permission

When you don’t need it

Some building projects don't need planning permission. This is known as permitted development rights.

Building projects that normally have permitted development rights include:

  • industrial premises and warehouses - though there are some limits and conditions
  • some outdoor signs and advertisements - though there are special rules around these
  • demolition - but before you begin you must get approval to demolish from the planning department

There are other projects that might not need planning permission, e.g. projects that will have no impact on your neighbours or the environment. If you think this could apply to your project, check with us.

In some cases it may not be clear if your development falls into the permitted development category. If this is the case you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. This is not the same as planning permission, but is proof that your building work is lawful.

When you do need it

You’ll probably need planning permission if you want to:

  • build something new
  • make a major change to your building - e.g. building an extension
  • change the use of your building

There are different rules depending on what you want to do.

Planning permission: business premises

Most alterations to business premises do need planning permission, including:

  • All shop and office extensions
  • Alterations to shop fronts
  • External security shutters or grilles
  • Changes in the use of land or buildings

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) puts uses of land and buildings into various categories known as 'Use Classes'.  Please check the Planning Portal for land use classes and general advice and guidance on change of use including additional change of use permitted development rights applying from 30 May 2013.

Learn more about Planning permission for small business under 'Common Projects', 'Project type.'

Planning permission: listed buildings, conservation area, advertisements

Listed building

If you wish to carry out internal or external works to a listed building you’ll need listed building consent and probably planning permission.

Our design and conservation team can advise you as to whether listed building consent is required for proposed works and can provide pre-application advise for your proposals.

It is a criminal offence to carry out work which needs listed building consent without obtaining it beforehand.

Conservation area

You’ll need to apply for permission if you wish to demolish a building, or part of a building within a conservation area.

Check if your building is in a conservation area.

Protected tree

Trees are protected in one of two ways, either by inclusion in a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or if the trees are within a conservation area.

You will need our consent before you do any work to a TPO tree. You will need to give us written notice six weeks ahead of work on trees in conservation areas.

It is a criminal offence to carry out work to protected tree(s) without the necessary consent.

TPO treework application form - this form can also be used to give Notice of Intent for work to tree(s) in a conservation Area:

TPO treework guidance notes

To check whether trees are protected email us with details of the location and type of trees. We are unable to check a tree’s status by telephone.

Display of advertisements

Some forms of advertisement benefit from something called 'deemed consent' and can be put up without approval from us. The government's free booklet, Outdoor advertisements and signs: a guide for advertisers contains useful advice.

Please note that it is a criminal offence to display an advert that requires our consent without first getting that consent.

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