Business and developers: check if you need planning permission

The Planning Portal

The Planning Portal provides:

  • an introduction to the planning process
  • information on why you may need to apply for planning permission

Planning permission

You may need planning permission for a wide variety of development works. For example:

  • new building works
  • changes in the use of land or buildings

Before you apply for planning permission, familiarise yourself with our:

To find specific information about a property and any potential constraints around planning developments, visit the development plan page.

If planning permission is required

If you do need planning permission, you'll need to provide us with the necessary scaled plans and supporting information. View our checklists to help identify all the information required for your proposal.

If you need further advice, you can submit a pre-application enquiry. Note: there is an advice fee for this service.

Submit your planning application

If planning permission is not required

In some cases you do not need to apply for planning permission but you will need to apply for Building Regulations approval to carry out:

  • works to protected trees
  • some other forms of statutory consent

You must make sure that all necessary consents are in place before starting a development.

Find more information about Building Regulations on our Building Regulations page.


Permitted Development Rights

The Planning Portal also provides information on permitted development rights. This allows you to make certain types of development without needing to apply for planning permission.

You can find more information on the Planning Portal's permitted development rights page.

Commercial properties

Most alterations to business premises do need planning permission. This includes:

  • all shop and office extensions
  • alterations to shop fronts
  • external security shutters or grilles

Change of use

If you want to change the use of a building or land, you may need planning permission. Planning permission is not usually needed when both the existing and proposed new uses fall within the same 'Use Class'. View the summary of use classes to find out which 'class' your use may fall into.

Note: it is possible to change uses between some classes without making an application.

Running a business from home

You may work from home, but this does not necessarily mean you need planning permission. For example;

  • you use part of your house for business purposes but it does not change the overall character of the property as a single dwelling
  • you use a room as an office
  • you have a child minding business which complies with the Department of Health's standard recommended ratios

If your business grows and the use of your home for business purposes increases, you'll need to apply for a material change of use. For example:
if the number of visitors, traffic, noise or fumes increases over and above what might be expected if the property were in use as a single dwelling without any business use.

If you are not sure apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use for the proposed activity. This will confirm whether you need to apply for a change of use or whether it's still the lawful use.

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

The current requirement in national planning guidance that all new developments in areas at risk of flooding should give priority to the use of sustainable drainage systems will continue to apply.

Under Schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, provision was made to make sure that sustainable drainage systems are delivered in a way:

  • which prioritises SuDS over conventional drainage
  • stipulates that developers make sure their design allows for future maintenance

From 6 April 2015, the Local Planning Authority (LPA) are responsible for making sure that sustainable drainage systems should be provided unless demonstrated to be inappropriate with the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) providing technical guidance and acting as a statutory consultee.

The duty applies to major developments:

  • residential developments of 10 or more homes
  • residential developments on a site of at least 0.5 hectares
  • non-residential developments on a site of at least 1 hectare
  • the creation or change of use of a commercial development, where the floorspace is 1,000 square metres or more

Proof from us that you do not need planning permission

If you need proof from us that planning permission is not required for your planning proposal, you can request a Certificate of Lawful Development. For example; if you want to sell the house at a later date.

You can apply for the certificate through the Planning Portal. You'll need to provide the relevant application forms and drawings.

View our checklists to help identify all the documents you'll need to get your certificate.

Before your application can be validated, you'll also need to pay a fee. Visit the Planning Portal to find out how much a Certificate of Lawful Development costs.