How planning permission works


What needs planning permission

Planning permission is required for most building works, engineering works, and for changes of use of buildings and land.

Permitted development

Some very minor development is granted permission automatically by an Order made by government. This is known as permitted development.

Permitted development rights allow for some alteration and extension of existing houses and for certain works within their gardens. These rights are subject to certain limitations and restrictions. More information on permitted development is available from the Scottish Government. Permitted development rights for flatted dwellings are generally more limited than for other houses.

Permitted development rights also apply for certain non-householder works. These rights can allow minor changes to a wide range of properties. More information on non-householder permitted development is available from the Scottish Government

However, there are instances where permitted development rights may have been removed - for example:

  • where a condition on a previous planning permission has removed permitted development rights
  • where a building or other feature is ‘listed’ as being of historical or architectural interest or is situated in a Conservation Area

Listed buildings and conservation areas

Special consents can be required for works to listed buildings or to buildings in Conservation Areas and we encourage you to contact us before doing any work to such a building.

Short-term lets

You may need planning permission to use a property for short-term letting. To find out if you need planning permission use the ‘Do I need planning permission?’ link below.

When completing the form include the information listed on Short-term lets: information for planning permission enquiries

Certificate of lawfulness

If you want a formal decision on whether the use of buildings or land is lawful, or whether any proposed works would be lawful, you can apply for a certificate of lawfulness.

You can apply online for a Certificate of Lawfulness through the Scottish Government eplanning website.

Ask us for informal advice

You can obtain informal advice about the need for planning permission by completing and submitting our online form. We normally try to provide an answer within 21-working days, but that might take longer at the moment.

Do I need planning permission?

Alternatively, you can contact a planning consultant and seek advice, but they are likely to charge for this service.

Other consents and permissions might be required such as building standards, roads construction consent and civic licensing.