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Planning & Permission

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How the planning permission process works

The first thing to do is check with the local planning authority if your project requires planning permission. The authority planning department will be able to point out if there are any obvious problems with the proposal and perhaps suggest adjustments which could help to gain the permission. If your plans are extensive, you could make an 'outline' application first to get an initial thumbs up before dedicating time and effort to the official plans.

The local planning authority will aim to determine a planning application within eight weeks of it being validated. However, they may request to extend this period if the issues involved are complex.

If your plans are refused or approved subject to conditions, you’ll have the option to lodge an appeal. This will be heard and decided by a Planning Inspector.

Applying for Planning Permission

Contact the planning department of your council. Tell the planning staff what you want to do and ask for their advice.

If they think you need to apply for planning permission, ask them for an application form and ask if they see any difficulties which could be overcome by amending your proposal. Some councils are now operating an online applications service. This means that you will be able to submit your form and pay your fee over the internet if you wish. Applications must be accompanied by a plan of the site and a copy of the drawings showing the work you propose to carry out.


The local council will be able to advise you about costs relative to your project. You can also establish these by using the cost calculator provided in the government Planning Portal web site.

Conservation Area Restrictions
If your property falls into a conservation area or is a listed building, you are likely to find many restrictions on what you can do and the materials you can use. These restrictions will often add considerably to your costs, so it is important to take these into consideration right from the start of the project.


Find your local Planning Authority

Scottish Building Standards Agency

Building Regulations

The DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) is responsible for Building Regulations, which exist principally to ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings. The regulations apply to most new buildings and to many alterations of existing buildings in England and Wales. Please note that Scotland has its own system of building regulations which are not covered here.

Your project will almost certainly require Building Regulations approval before you can commence with construction.

For more information on this visit:


Complying with building regulations is a separate matter from getting planning permission for your work. In the same way, receiving any planning permission is not the same as taking action to ensure that it complies with building regulations. A free guide to regulations and the planning system is available via the link below.

Building Regulations: Explanatory Booklet (PDF 1191 Kb) may be downloaded from the Planning Portal Website.

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