Permitted development rights

Some building works and changes of use are described as permitted development.

Most single dwelling houses benefit from permitted development rights. This means that certain alterations and extensions to a house can be carried out without needing planning permission. However, you do have to seek prior approval for some larger home extensions.

Properties which do not have permitted development rights

  • Flats, maisonettes or houses in multiple occupation
  • Properties on conservation areas. To check if your house is in a conservation area, please follow this link to our conservation area webpage.
  • Properties which have had the permitted development rights removed. Some properties may have had their rights removed through conditions on the original, or subsequent, planning permission. You can find out if the permitted development rights for your house have been removed - check previous planning applications for your property.
  • Listed buildings. If your house is a listed building, you will more than likely need listed building consent to carry out works, even if the works fall under permitted development. To find out if your house is listed, see the listed building statutory register.

Permitted development information on the Planning Portal

You can read about permitted development on the Planning Portal. Visit the Planning Portal website to find out if you will need planning permission.

Planning Portal

Planning Portal - glossary of planning term

Planning Portal - interactive house

We can remove permitted development rights under Article 4 directions.

Building control

The enquiry service refers only to permitted development in planning terms for the purposes of planning legislation. You may still need building regulation approval. 

For more information on building regulations, see building control.

Common projects that might be undertaken under permitted development rights

Common building projects for houses:

Common building projects for businesses

Common householders and flats projects

a) Do I need permission to change or replace windows?

You will need planning permission to change any windows or doors in a flat or maisonette. But you can do this without planning permission for a house. However, this will depend on whether your property is covered by an Article 4 direction which removes permitted development rights.

Article 4 directions

You don't need to make a planning application if your property is in a conservation area, and there is no Article 4 removing your rights to replace windows. If you want confirmation that these works are permitted, you can make an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development.

You might also need the freeholder's permission depending on the terms of your lease and if the property is a listed building then you will need Listed Building Consent regardless of whether it is a single dwelling house or a flat.

Search on the 'property' tab of the Public Access

b) Do I need permission to install satellite dishes?

You will need planning permission to put up a satellite dish in a flat or any other premise.

For properties in conservation areas, planning permission is required, but would be unlikely to be granted, to install a satellite dish on a chimney, wall or roof slope which both faces onto and is visible from the road.

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

You can make an application for a Certificate of Lawful Development in order to obtain confirmation that the proposed works fall under permitted development rights.

c) Do I need permission to create a roof terrace?

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

Make a planning application

d) Do I need permission for a garden shed and / or an outbuilding?

You need to apply for planning permission to erect a garden shed or an outbuilding in a flat.

At a house, the erection of a garden shed or an outbuilding can be permitted development if it follows the rules.

If the property is in a conservation area, you will require planning permission if the proposed outbuilding will be at the side or front of the property.

e) Do I need permission to make a basement or roof extension?

If your property is a flat or maisonette, you will require planning permission to make a basement or roof extension. This includes loft extension and the installation of lightwells.

Following an Article 4 direction in April 2018, you now need full planning permission to create or extend the basement.

To check our current planning regarding basements and roof extensions, please visit: Local Plan

f) Do I need permission to install a solar panel?

It is generally possible for single houses or a building of flats to install solar panels without planning permission. However, the location of the solar panel should be such as to minimize the effect on neighbours or the look of the area.

Apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development to get confirmation that the proposed works fall under permitted development rights.

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

You don’t need planning permissions if your proposal is to take down a fence, wall or gate, or to alter, maintain or improve an existing fence, wall or gate (no matter how high) if you don't increase its height.

If you want to put up a new boundary wall, fence, railings or gate that is over one metre high and it is next to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway); or over two metres high elsewhere you will need planning permission.

h) 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 higher part of the roof.

If the house is covered by an Article 4 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 require planning permission.

i) Do I need permission to create a hardstanding on my front garden?

In the case of a flat, you will need to apply for a full planning permission to create a hardstanding surface.

In the case of a house, you will require to apply for a householder application if:

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

j) 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 located into a conservation area; in which case you will need to give six weeks notice to the council about the proposed works to the tree.

Some trees are protected and will require planning permission to prune or remove. These are known as Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) and you can find more more from our urban design and conservation team.

Information from the urban design and conservation team on trees

Common business projects

a) How can I know if I am changing the use of a property?

If your proposal doesn't involve a change of use, you won’t need to apply for planning permission. Please see below for general businesses as classified by the use class.

A1 shops

Shops, retail warehouses, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies, post offices (but not sorting offices), pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors and internet cafes.

A2 financial and professional services

Financial services such as banks and building societies, professional services (other than health and medical services) including estate and employment agencies and betting offices.

A3 restaurants and cafes

For the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises - restaurants, snack bars and cafes.

A4 drinking establishments

Public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments (but not night clubs).

A5 hot food takeaways

For the sale of hot food for consumption off the premises.

Sui generis

Certain uses do not fall within any use class and are considered ‘sui generis’.

Such uses include:

  • theatres
  • hostels providing no significant element of care
  • scrap yards
  • petrol filling stations
  • shops selling and/or displaying motor vehicles
  • retail warehouse clubs
  • nightclubs
  • launderettes
  • taxi businesses
  • amusement centres
  • casinos.

Permitted changes

There are certain permitted changes of use that doesn't need planning permission. Please see below for more information.

You don't need planning permission to change from:

  • A2 (professional and financial services) to A1 (shop) when the premise has a display window at ground level
  • A3 (restaurants and cafes) to A1 (shop)
  • A4 (drinking establishments) to A1 or A2 or A3
  • B1 (business) to B8 (storage and distribution) - permission limited to change of use relating to not more than 500 square metres of floor space
  • B2 (general industrial) to B1 (business)
  • B2 (general industrial) to B8 (storage and distribution) - permission limited to change of use relating to not more than 500 square metres of floor space
  • B8 (storage and distribution) to B1 (business) - permission limited to change of use relating to not more than 500 square metres of floor space
  • Casinos (sui generis) to D2 (assembly and leisure).

If your proposal is for a change of use that is not permitted development, you will need to apply for a full planning permission. If you would like to have a confirmation that the change of use is permitted without planning permission, you can apply for a Lawfulness Development Certificate (LDC).

Make a planning application

Even if the change of use is permitted, the external changes related to the change of use will need planning permission.

b) Do I need permission to change from a café to a takeaway?

Yes, this is a material change of use and it involves a change between A3 to A5 use. If you would like to apply to make a change of use visit:

Make a planning application

c) Do I need permission to display advertisements on my shopfront?

Generally you will need to apply for advertisement consent. There are cases where you have 'deemed consent', but your advertising must:

  • relate only to the business name, goods sold or services provided by the business, or the name or qualification of the person conducting the business
  • not be displayed in conservation areas
  • not be displayed on shop walls unless they contain a shop window
  • not involve more than one parallel sign and one projecting sign are displayed
  • not project over a carriageway
  • have characters (not background) are internally or halo illuminated
  • have static illumination
  • not have luminance which exceeds our regulations
  • have projecting signs that are no more than 0.75m2 with a maximum height of 1m
  • project no more than 1m (or two-thirds the width of the footway)
  • have fascia signs that project no more than 0.25m from walls
  • have fascia signs that are no more than one-sixth of the frontage up to 4.6m in height (or one-fifth of the frontage up to the top of the sign, if less)
  • have symbol height of no more than 0.75m
  • be no less than 2.5m height above ground, and no more than 4.6m (or the bottom of the first floor windowsill, if lower)
  • distance between the two faces of a projecting sign is no more than 0.25m.

For more specific information you can check the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007.

d) 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.

e) Do I need permission to install tables and chairs for my business?

You will need a highways permit to install tables and chairs, either on a public or private area.

Find more information on tables and chairs highway permits

Planning permission will be required if the tables and chairs will be located in the public highway or a on privately maintained highway such as a forecourt which forms part of the highway and can be walked across by the public.

Make a planning application

f) 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
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