Planning permission guidance for businesses

You may need planning permission if you're intending to carry out a specified piece of building work to your business.

Here's some planning permission guidance for businesses on what you may need planning permission for;

  • Building and engineering works
  • changes to use of a building or land
  • display of advertisements
  • alterations to listed buildings
  • demolition of buildings in conservation areas

It’s your responsibility to seek planning permission.

Always check if you need planning permission

To help you find out if you need to apply for planning permission and for examples of common building works projects, visit the planning portal.

Failure to seek and obtain planning permission or comply with the details of a permission, is a ‘planning breach’.

Pre-application advice

To help you find out whether your proposed development would likely to be accepted and what issues there may be before your submitting your application, contact us to get some pre-application advice.

Working from home


You do not necessarily need planning permission to work from home. The key test is whether the overall character of the dwelling will change as a result of the business.

If the answer to any of the following questions is "yes", then permission will probably be required:

  • Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?
  • your business may result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?
  • will your business involve any activities unusual in a residential area?
  • your business disturbs your neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?
  • you need to extend your house specifically to accommodate the new business?

Change of Use

In many cases, a Change of Use of a building or land does not require planning permission if both the present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘class’ as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. It is also possible to change use between some classes without making an application.

Use classes 

  • Shops (A1)
  • Financial and Professional Services (A2)
  • Food and Drink (A3-5)
  • Business (B1)
  • General Industrial (B2)
  • Distribution and Storage (B8)
  • Hotels (C1)
  • Residential Institutions (C2)
  • Dwelling Houses (C3)
  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (C4)
  • Non-Residential Institutions (D1)
  • Assembly and Leisure (D2)

You can read more about changing the use of your building via our webpage.

Extending business premises

Minor extensions, including the erection of additional buildings within the curtilage, may not need planning permission, however do always check with us first.

Factory or warehouse extensions

Planning permission will not normally be required if your extension is:

  • less than 1000 square metres of floor space
  • less than 25 per cent of the volume of the original building
  • below the height of the original building

The extension must be related to the current use of the building or the provision of staff facilities.

Planning permission will be required if the extension:

  • materially affects the external appearance of the building
  • comes within five metres of the boundary of the site
  • reduces the amount of space available for parking or turning of vehicles

Office extensions

Planning permission will not normally be required if your extension is:

  • less than 50 square metres of floor space or less than 25 per cent of the gross floor space of the original building (whichever is lesser)
  • below the height of the building being extended or, if within 10 metres of a boundary, five metres high
  • if within a Conservation Area, extensions must be constructed using materials which have a similar external appearance to those used for the building being extended

The extension must be related to the current use of the building. Planning permission will be required if the extension:

  • comes within five metres of the boundary of the site
  • would be within a Listed Building

Alterations to office buildings can also be permitted outside Conservation Areas, subject to the same restrictions above, but can only be at ground floor level. 

Building new premises

The construction of new premises nearly always needs planning permission.

Advertisements and shopfronts

For further information concerning the need for advertisement consent please consult the DCLG's Guide to Advertisements and Signs.

Agriculture

For further information concerning agricultural developments please consult the DCLG's Farmer's Guide to Planning

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