Planning Permission

Do I Need Planning Permission?

The rules for planning permission can be complex and confusing to understand when you do and don’t need planning permission. With Permitted Development, you can complete certain home development projects without the need for planning permission. But, it's essential that you get the planning guidelines right to avoid any costly mistakes.

Do I need planning permission?

Navigating planning permission can be daunting and confusing. There are a lot of complex rules surrounding planning permission: what you can and can’t build and this changes depending on where you live and the type of house you live in.

We've created a series of guides for planning permission that relate to specific home improvement projects, such as conservatories, bi-fold doors and windows.

Also, scroll down the page to see a few surprising projects that you might not realise you do need planning permission for, such as decking, fences and front garden paving.

Apart from planning permission, you also need to be aware of building regulations. Scroll down the page to see our guides.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is a set of guidelines and rules for what you can and can't build, or make alterations to on your property.

Your Local Planning Authority may grant planning permission to complete work following a detailed application.

To apply for planning permission, you must submit a set of detailed plans to be approved. Once you obtain permission, you can only build what has been approved and any changes to the original plans must be resubmitted.

There are a few types of planning permission to be aware of:

  • Full planning permission is granted on the basis of detailed plans and the project must meet the specification and design to be valid.
  • Householder planning permission is a simplified process for homeowners that wish to make changes to their property for any works to alter or extend a house within the boundaries of their property.
  • Outline planning permission is used to consider if a project is viable as permission in principle. Outline permission does not give you consent to begin any works and you must then specify the ‘reserved matters’ to gain full approval.
  • Reserved Matters is a part-application only submitted after outline planning permission has been approved. If anything has changed from the original outline then a new full planning application must be submitted.

Before you start any building or home improvement work on your property, always check with your Local Planning Authority (LPA) to confirm if you need planning permission. Rules do change over time and there can be locally specific rules that apply.

Planning permission is about IF you can build or make changes to a property. Building regulation is about the STANDARDS and QUALITY of what you are building to ensure the safety of the structure.

Planning permission and building regulation are separate and must be applied for independently. In some cases, you might not need planning permission but you could need building regulation, so always check that you comply with both.

Do you need planning permission for...
a Conservatory?


Do you need planning permission for...


Do you need planning permission for...


Do you need planning permission for...
a Porch?


Do you need planning permission for...
an Extension?


Do you need planning permission for...
an Orangery?


Commonly Asked Questions

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    What is permitted development?

    Some common projects and certain types of work come under the national legislation of 'Permitted Development' and do not need planning permission. Although, you might need to submit for prior approval before you start any work.

    Note, permitted development rights only apply to houses and do not apply to flats, maisonettes and other buildings.

    Permitted development rights might be restricted in designated areas and rights do vary between regions.

    Always seek advice from your Local Planning Authority before you begin any work.

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    Prior Approval

    For some types of projects, there are restrictions that require prior approval to ensure full eligibility of the permitted development rights.

    Some classes of permitted development require an application to your Local Planning Authority to consider where “prior Approval’ is needed. See more about the types of approval here.

    If there are no objections or restrictions you will be issued with a Lawful Development Certificate.

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    Listed Buildings and Designated Areas

    Subject to more restrictive rules, you will need 'listed building consent' to demolish or to alter and extend listed buildings and for separate buildings within the grounds of a listed building.

    Conservation Areas, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites are known as 'designated areas' and subject to more restricted rights.

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    What is Article 4 direction?

    Permitted development rights can be withdrawn by the Secretary of State or your Local Planning Authority across a defined area with temporary or permanent effect.

    Check with your local office that there aren't any directives in place before you start planning your build.

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    Restrictive covenants

    A covenant can be attached to a property which outlines restrictions of use or development. A covenant could stop you from any development or building work on the property or the surrounding land.

    Covenants should be declared during your conveyancing process by your solicitor, so you should be aware of them, but they can be missed.

    We recommend you check for any restrictive covenants on your property before you consider any building or improvement works.

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    The Original House Rule

    Planning permission often refers to the 'original house'. This means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if built before this date). If you're thinking of any work on your house, you do need to check to see if any previous owners have added any extensions to the 'original house' as they will be factored into where your conservatory is positioned on the house or how big it can be.

How long does planning permission take?

Most planning permission applications are decided within 8 weeks. The time limit for complex applications is 13 weeks (in England).

However, you might be required to resubmit your applications or parts of the application.

How long does planning permission last?

Unless otherwise stated, or is conditional, planning permission expires after three years when you will have to reapply.

Planning permission is attached to the land and not the applicant; therefore, buildings and land can be sold with planning permission.

Once you have planning permission in place, it can be possible to make small changes. These can be submitted by a non-material amendment application.

How much does planning permission cost?

A Householder Application and a Full Application for a single property, for alteration and extension is £206.

A Full Application for a new build property is £462 per house (under 50 houses).

Outline application for a site area less than 2.5 hectares is £462 for each 0.01 hectare.

Prior Approval for a larger home extension is £96.

Note this is an application fee and doesn't guarantee you will get planning permission. Resubmissions also require a fee.

Don’t forget that as part of your planning permission application process, you will need architectural drawings. These will add several thousand pounds depending on the size of the house and the project details.

Building regulations approval is set by the individual Local Planning Authority and can vary. Read a full list of fees for Planning Permission here.

How to get planning permission

To apply for planning permission, apply directly to your LPA. You can find your Local Planning Authority here.

Download a planning permission template here.

You can read more in-depth information about what is required in the planning permission process here.

Your planning application will be considered by your Local Planning Authority on the development plan including:

  • the number, size, layout, siting and external appearance of buildings
  • the infrastructure available, such as roads and water supply
  • any landscaping needs
  • what you want to use the development for
  • how your development would affect the surrounding area - for example, if it would create lots more traffic

Note, after your application is submitted a notice is posted outside your property and your neighbours will receive written notification with the opportunity to make any objections.

Planning permission needed for your home improvements

Planning permission needed for your home improvements

8 projects that need planning permission (surprisingly)


    You don't need permission to plant a hedge but they can be controlled through planning conditions. If the height of a hedge adversely affects a neighbour they fall under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 and you can be subject to a formal notice from the local authority.

  2. TREES

    You don't need planning permission but many trees are protected by a preservation order and you will need council approval to prune or cut them down.


    If you install more than two antennae on the property, or a single antenna is more than 1 metre tall or wide (the second more than 0.6 metres). Or, if attached to a chimney and is more than 0.6 metres above a chimney stack.


    Advertisement consent may be required for an advertisement (not estate agent boards) bigger than 0.3 square metres - or any size if illuminated - outside your property.


    If your decking is more than 30cm off the ground or in combination with other extensions is more than 50 percent of the garden.


    If your home is no longer mainly a private residence; if more people will be calling at your property; if you are operating at unreasonable hours; or, if creating any nuisance such as smells or noise.


    For an area more than 5 square metres of impermeable material with no provision for water to run off into a permeable area.


    For a fence over 1 metre next to a highway, or over 2 metres elsewhere. If the fence borders onto a listed building or its grounds.

What reasons can planning permission be refused?

The most common reason for applications being refused is loss of privacy/overlooking and loss of light.

Loss of privacy23%
Loss of light14%
Highway safety10%
Layout of building7%
Effect on Listed building or Conservation Area7%
Appearance and materials6%
Government policy3%

Data from an Everest independent survey of 400 people who had applied for planning permission in the last five years.

If your application is refused, you can try to negotiate with the LPA or appeal the decision.

Planning permission and building regulations

What are building regulations?

Even if you don't need planning permission, any building work undertaken on your property must comply with building regulations.

Building regulations cover all work to the structure and fabric of the building and can include:

  • replace fuse boxes and connected electrics
  • install a bathroom that will involve plumbing
  • change electrics near a bath or shower
  • put in a fixed air-conditioning system
  • replace windows and doors
  • replace roof coverings on pitched and flat roofs
  • install or replace a heating system
  • add extra radiators to a heating system

If you use someone who is registered in a competent person scheme then you don’t need to personally apply for building approval.

Building Regs Part F →

Document Part F Building Regulations address ventilation and improving the air quality inside buildings.

Building Regs Part O →

Document Part O Building Regulations address overheating and limiting solar gain through windows in buildings.

Not many people realise that if you ever want to sell your house and don't have the correct planning permission and regulations approval, the sale can fall through.

At Everest, we have an expert team who keep up to date with all planning permission and building regulations, so that you don't make any costly mistakes.

More Information

Information is correct at time of publication: Updated May 2023.

Planning rules are subject to change. Always seek approval from your local planning authority before starting any building work.