Planning Permission - When Needed and When Not Needed

While many building projects require both Building Regulations Approval and Planning Permission, some require only Building Regulations Approval. Some, however, don’t require either. In order to help you understand when you need to apply for Planning Permission and when you don’t need it, we will go briefly through the “main rules” including the National Planning Policy Framework which entered into force in March 2013 and brought several important changes.

When You Need Planning Permission

You generally need Planning Permission or consent from your local planning authority for the majority of new building works and larger changes of existing buildings. In other words, you need to apply for Planning Permission at your local planning authority if you intend to:

When You Don’t Need Planning Permission

Normally, you don’t need planning permission for:

However, keep in mind that we said normally. Whether you will need Planning Permission or not depends greatly on the size and type of your project. In other words, just because you neighbour didn’t need Planning Permission for their new conservatory, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t either. We highly recommend you not to build anything without checking with your local planning authority first. Also, keep in mind that there are special rules for listed buildings and conservation areas.

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that came into force in March 2013 loosened the requirements for both new projects and smaller changes of the existing buildings. As a result, the list of projects that don’t need Planning Permission got longer. For example, you no longer need to apply for Planning Permission if you want to build a single-storey house extension (but only until 30 May 2016!). At the same time, it is a lot easier to get permission for building projects that aren’t exempt.

Our Advice

Despite the fact that many projects don’t require Planning Permission, we highly recommend you to check with your local planning authority before you start with any construction works.