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Work which doesn't need planning permission

Some types of building work and development don't need permission as long as they are within defined thresholds. This is called permitted development.

Always check if you'll need permission before starting any work. You can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a Proposed Use or Development if you want formal confirmation that your proposals don't require planning permission.

Householder development

Some small alterations and extensions can be carried out to your house or in your garden without planning permission:

  • Single storey ground floor extensions
  • Ground floor extensions of more than one storey
  • Porches
  • Enlargements of the roof
  • Access ramps
  • Changes to external appearance that are not an enlargement
  • Sheds, garages, greenhouses and other buildings
  • Minor developments within domestic gardens
  • Hard surfaces
  • Decking or other raised platforms
  • Gates, fences, walls or other means of enclosure
  • Flues for a biomass heating system
  • Flues for a combined heat and power system
  • Ground and water source heat pumps
  • Free-standing wind turbines and air source heat pumps

The Scottish Government have published detailed guidance on permitted development for householders which covers the rules that must be followed.

Agricultural development

Some work for the purposes of agriculture can be done without planning permission:

  • Erection, extension or alteration of an agricultural building
  • Formation, alteration or maintenance of private ways on agricultural land
  • Excavation or engineering operations on agricultural land

Sundry minor operations

A number of minor works can be undertaken without planning permission:

  • Erecting or altering gates, fences, walls or other means of enclosure
  • Forming or constructing new access to roads
  • Cleaning or painting stone

Changes of use

Buildings and land are grouped into classes depending on how they are used. Any material change of use may require planning permission.

If a change of use does not involve a change of class then planning permission is not required unless a restriction has previously applied. In addition, some changes of class do not require planning permission unless a restriction has previously applied:

Current classProposed class
Class 2 - Financial, professional and other servicesClass 1 - Shops
Class 3 - Food and drinkClass 1 - Shops
General - Sale of hot food for takeawayClass 1 - Shops
General - Sales of motor vehicles
(with floor area not exceeding 235sqm)
Class 1 - Shops
Class 3 - Food and drinkClass 2 - Financial, professional and other services
General - Sale of hot food for takeawayClass 2 - Financial, professional and other services
Class 5 - General industrialClass 4 - Business
Class 6 - Storage or distributionClass 4 - Business
Class 4 - BusinessClass 6 - Storage or distribution
Class 5 - General industrialClass 6 - Storage or distribution
Page last updated: 04/08/17