Do I need planning permission?

Planning champion

As a general guide, you need planning permission for new buildings, major alterations to existing buildings and to change the use of buildings or land

If you intend to start work on property or land that you own, it’s your responsibility to seek out the necessary approvals, permissions and consents required. If you go ahead without permission, you may end up having to put things back to how they were.

In some instances you do not need planning permission for some types of development. This is known as permitted development. If you would like to know if your proposed work falls under permitted development you can check using the common projects section on the Planning Portal interactive guides and advice pages. Some of the common projects include:

If you need more information or are unsure you can use our pre-application service or Duty Planning Officer Service.

If your property is a listed building, you will need to make an application for listed building consent if you wish to alter the building internally or externally.

If it is in a conservation area, additional planning controls apply.

If you wish to erect a sign or advert, you may need advertisement consent

If you wish to change the use of a building you may not need planning consent, if the current and proposed use fall within the same class. For example a shop selling electrical goods can be changed to a hairdressers without permission, but changing it to an estate agent would need consent. Most external building work associated with a change of use is likely to require planning permission.

For a formal decision of whether permission is required please apply for a lawful development certificate. This type of application clarifies if planning permission is required. If it is not required you will get a certificate which confirms this. If planning permission is required, you would then have to go on to make a formal planning application.

Exceptions for Southampton

In Southampton you will need planning permission to change a family house into a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) because we have an Article 4 Direction in place.

As well as getting planning permission you may need separate building control approval to ensure that the works reach certain standards so that the building is safe and energy efficient.