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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 double check if you'll need permission before starting any work, we are happy to provide information and advice.

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

There are a number or constraints and restrictions that apply to the permitted development rights for agriculture so it is best to enquire before proceeding.

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

However, these works are only permitted subject to certain criteria (such as the height and position of a fence) so contact us for further advice.

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

The class of a building or land is often assessed on a case by case basis and you should ask us for further advice if you are not sure.

Page last updated: 10/05/17