Do I need planning permission?

Planning and building control

It’s important to find out if you need planning permission before you start any building work.

If you go ahead without permission, you may have to put things back to how they were. 

You are likely to need planning permission if you intend to:

  • construct a new building
  • alter the external appearance of an existing building
  • extend a property
  • convert a house into flats
  • change the use of a building or land

The Planning Portal provides useful guidance on planning permission with an interactive tool for common projects in a:

Permitted development

Some alterations, extensions or changes of use do not need planning permission. This is known as 'permitted development'.  

If you wish to confirm that your proposal is permitted development, then you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

If you live in a conservation area, or if your property is listed, there are additional constrains and the advice on this page will not apply.

If these apply to your property, we suggest you use our pre-application advice service to discuss your proposal. 

See our conservation areas

To find out if a building is listed, go to the Historic England website.

 

If your property is a ‘single dwelling house’ (not a flat or maisonette) you can make a number of changes under permitted development. Visit the interactive detached house on the Planning Portal for further guidance on permitted development to common household projects.

Read the government’s permitted development rights: technical guidance

However, planning permission will be required in most cases if your property:

  • is a flat or maisonette
  • is a listed building
  • is in a conservation area
  • has an Article 4 direction in place

If you want specific guidance for your property, please use our pre-application advice service.

You will normally require planning permission to put tables and chairs on the highway outside your premises because it involves a change to the use of that land. The term 'highway' includes the carriageway and footway, alleys and passageways. If all the land you are using is on a private forecourt, you may not require planning permission if the use of the tables and chairs is an extension of the ground floor use of the premises. A Highway Amenities Licence will be required from the council.

Projects that normally have permitted development rights (do not need permission):

  • adverts and signs
  • working from home

The government's Planning Portal provides planning permission guidance for common business projects:

Check if you need planning permission

Uses of land and buildings are put into categories known as 'use classes'. You will generally need planning permission to change from one kind of use to another, although there are exceptions where the legislation allows some changes between uses.

You do not need planning permission if:

  • both the present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘use class’, or
  • the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 says that a change of use is permitted to another specified class

For example:

  • a bakery could be changed to a shoe shop without permission, as these uses fall within the same class
  • a restaurant could be changed to a shop or an estate agency as a Use Class Order allows this type of change without planning permission

You can get more information about change of use on the government's Planning Portal.

In addition to planning applications, there are a number of other kinds of applications that you may need. The Planning Portal provides detailed guidance on these and allows you to submit them electronically via the site. The most common application types are:

Building control

If you are making structural changes to an existing property or you are building a new property, you may need to apply for building control approval. For more information see our building control pages.  

Highways

If you are making changes to the road or pavement outside your property, you may require consent. For more information see our guidance on dropped kerbs

Licensing

Depending on the use of your premises, you may need to apply for a licence. For more information see our licences and street trading pages. 

Do I need permission to change or replace windows?

For flats and maisonettes: you will need planning permission to change any windows or doors.

For houses: you usually don’t need planning permission. However, this depends on whether your property is covered by an Article 4 direction which removes permitted development rights or if your property is listed.

If your property is in a conservation area and there is no Article 4 (removing your rights to replace windows), then you do not need to apply for planning permission. To check if your proposal is permitted development (does not need planning permission), then you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Do I need permission to install satellite dishes?

You need planning permission to put up a satellite dish in a flat or any other premises. It might be possible to put up a satellite dish without the need for planning permission in a house, under permitted development rights.

To check that your proposed works fall under permitted development rights you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Do I need permission to create a roof terrace?

Yes. You will need to apply for planning permission to create a roof terrace for a flat or a house.

Do I need permission to make a basement?

If your property is a flat or maisonette, you will need planning permission to make a basement. This includes the installation of lightwells.

If your property is a single house, you don’t need to make a planning application to create or extend a basement as long as:

  • the basement is limited to the existing footprint of the house, and...
  • the use of this is space is ancillary to the main house

If you want to use the basement as an independent living unit, you will require planning permission. This also applies for houses in conservation areas.

If the basement extension requires a lightwell or any external alterations to the house, you will need planning permission.

To check if your proposed works fall under permitted development rights you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Do I need permission to install a solar panel?

If you live in a single family dwelling house, the installation of these do not always require planning permission:

  • wind turbines
  • solar panels
  • ground source heat pump
  • air source heat pump.

Find out more about home energy generation on the Planning Portal.

Get more information about making your home more energy efficient on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Do I need permission to change or replace boundaries, fences and railings?

You don’t need planning permission if your proposal is to:

  • take down a fence, wall or gate
  • alter, maintain or improve an existing fence, wall or gate (no matter how high) if you don't increase its height

You will need planning permission to erect a new boundary wall, fence, railings or gate that:

  • exceeds one metre high and it is next to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway)
  • exceeds two metres high elsewhere 

Do I need permission to install flues, pipes and chimneys?

You will need planning permission to install flues, pipes and chimneys in a flat.

A proposal to install flues, pipes and chimneys in a house might be permitted development if the proposal is not 1m higher than the highest part of the roof. To check if your proposed works fall under permitted development rights, you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

If the house is covered by an Article 4 direction or is located in a conservation area, and the proposal affects the side or front elevation of the house, it is likely that you will need planning permission.

Do I need permission to create a hard-standing surface on my front garden?

For flats: you will need to apply for a full planning permission to create a hard-standing surface.

For houses: you will need to apply for a householder application for any of the following:

  • if the proposal exceeds 5m2
  • if the hard surface will be made of non-porous materials
  • if there will be no provision made to direct run-off water to a permeable or porous area within the land around the original house

Do I need permission to prune or remove trees from my property?

Generally you don’t need planning permission to prune or remove a tree unless it is in a conservation area. For more information go to our conservation and trees pages.

Do I need permission to install a canopy or an awning?

You will generally need to apply for a full planning application to install a new awning and canopy. If your proposal is to replace an existing awning or canopy the replacement needs to be like-for-like, or it will require planning permission.

Do I need permission to install CCTV cameras?

You will need to apply for full planning permission to install, change or replace a CCTV camera if:

  • its dimensions will be greater than 75cm x 25cm x 25cm (including its housing)
  • it will be positioned less than 2.5m from the ground
  • it will protrude more than 1m from the wall
  • it will be in contact with the surface of the property at a point more than 1m from any other point of contact
  • it will be less than 10m from another camera on the property
  • more than four cameras will be attached to the same side of the property in total
  • more than 16 cameras will be attached to the whole property in total