How to make a planning application

Planning permission

You probably need planning permission if you want to:

  • build something new
  • make a major change to your building such as building an extension
  • change the use of your building or land
  • merge houses or flats in a way which reduces the overall number of homes

Permitted development rights

Planning permission isn't always required for a development if the works can be carried out using permitted development rights. These are set nationally and not by us.

Find out if you can carry out permitted development on the Planning Portal.

New ‘Class E’ for shops, services and businesses

Parliament has recently changed the Use Classes Order 1987, to allow free interchange between the majority of ‘shopping centre’ uses. From 1 September 2020, existing Classes A1, A2, A3, B1, and D1 of the Use Classes Order 1987 have been combined to form a new Class E, entitled ‘Commercial, Business and Service’.

The new Class E encompasses uses such as retail shops, hairdressers, estate agents, coffee bars, cafes, restaurants, B1 business, doctors, dentists, gyms, creches/day nurseries and more, so from 1 September they can be changed to the other without requiring planning permission. 

It should be noted that Class E does not include pubs, or takeaways - planning permission is still required to change to/from these. 

Also, it does not include a permitted development right for any external alterations, ducts, grilles, vents, plant etc  - planning permission will still be required for these in the normal way.

Finally, food and alcohol licences will still be required for any new restaurant.


Flats don't have any permitted development rights. If you intend to materially alter the external appearance of a building containing flats you will always require planning permission.

This includes installing double glazed windows in place of single glazed windows in a flat, unless the appearance of the new windows would be identical to the existing windows.

Changing the use of buildings 

Changing the use of buildings does not always need planning permission.

Find out more on the Planning Portal.

New buildings and external changes 

New buildings and many external changes to buildings require planning permission, which you can get by submitting a planning application.

How to submit your application

Please submit applications through the Planning Portal.

What if I don't need permission?

If you would like the Council to confirm that you don't need planning permission, apply for a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development through the Planning Portal.


When works are not considered to be permitted development, some people sometimes start the work or change the use of a property without the correct planning consents in place. When this happens our Enforcement Team investigates.

Read more about planning enforcement.

Appointing someone to handle your planning application

Search for an architect or planning consultant to help you prepare a planning application:

Last updated: 4 January 2024