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What planning permission do I need?

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Hannah Johnson

Hannah Johnson is a Solicitor in the Property Department and can be contacted on 01323 644222 or by email hj@stephenrimmer.com

Lockdown and home improvements: When do you need planning permission?

With recent announcements from both the UK and Scottish government about further lockdown restrictions, you might be planning to fill your time with some home improvements. At the time of writing, tradespeople are exempt from lockdown restrictions and may enter your home to carry out necessary repairs. However, you should be aware that certain modifications to your home and garden may require specific permissions. In this article, we look at where you can find the information you need and provide a brief guide to when you may and may not need planning permission.

When might I need planning permission, and how do I check?

You will likely need planning permission if you:

  • Plan to build something new
  • Live in a listed building
  • Make significant changes to the building you live in, such as building an extension
  • Want to change the use purpose of a building

You may also need permission to build a fence, gate or wall in certain circumstances.

Planning law differs in the separate jurisdictions across the UK, so we have set out generally when you may need to check whether you need planning permission. However, to check whether it is required and the process for your specific circumstances, you should visit the websites below:

England - You should contact your local planning authority (LPA)

Scotland - Visit the Scottish Government website on the topic for more information and where you can also find the contact details for your local planning authority.

Wales - You can visit the Planning Portal

Northern Ireland - Visit NI Direct to find out about the specific regulations and application process. You can also find out how to get assistance with the planning and application process.

What can I do without planning permission?

There are many things you can do to your home that do not require planning permission, including:

Interior developments

Remodelling the interior of your home can give you more space and transform the look and feel of your home. Generally, you will not need planning permission, but you may require the relevant Building Regulations approval for any electrical or structural works.

Sheds, garages and other outbuildings

If you need space to store your summer garden furniture, or you fancy building a separate area for your home office, you can add a shed, garage, or certain other outbuildings without planning permission. These are permitted developments' so long as they are of a reasonable size, taking up no more than half of the land and no more than 4 metres high.

Doors and windows

Unless you live in a listed building, you can replace the windows and doors in your home without listed building consent.

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