Planning approval - what needs permission

Development can involve building, engineering, mining or other operations and changing the use of land or buildings.  This can include:

  • extensions to commercial property;
  • engineering work (eg new car parks);
  • some alterations and extensions to houses;
  • certain types of advertisements (eg illuminated signs);
  • changes of use of land or buildings;
  • converting a single house to flats or a rest home; 
  • alterations to, or demolition of, Listed Buildings;
  • demolition of buildings in a Conservation Area.

This list is not complete and we advise you to always check to find out if you need planning permission and, if so, how to go about it.

Changes of use

Planning permission is required for a change of use of land or buildings. For example, you will need permission to convert your house into flats or bed sits, a boarding house or a care home. You do not require planning permission to let one or two rooms to lodgers.
Similarly, if you divide off part of your house for business or commercial use (e.g. a workshop) permission could be needed. Always consult the planning officer before making such changes.

Listed buildings and conservation areas

If you want to demolish a Listed Building, or part of one, alter it (inside or out) or extend it in any way which would affect its character, you will need Listed Building Consent.  You may also need listed building consent for any such works to a separate building within the grounds of a listed building. Check the position carefully it is an offence to carry out such work without consent.

If you live in a conservation area you need conservation area consent to demolish any building or part of a building with a volume of more than 115 cubic metres. There are a few exceptions to this - you can get further information from the Planning Service.  You may also need conservation area consent to demolish gates, walls, fences or railings if they are above a certain height.

Work which affects trees

Many trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders which means that you need consent to prune or fell them. Trees in conservation areas may also be protected and you must give at least six weeks' notice before carrying out work on them.

Building Regulations approval

New building work will often need to comply with the Building Regulations which are intended to ensure that buildings are safe and habitable.