Businesses need to expand and change to adapt to market conditions and trends. Changes in planning legislation have made it easier to do this.

Is your business looking to:

Signs or adverts

You need consent for almost all hoardings, illuminated signs outside the deemed consent allowances, fascia signs and projecting signs on shop fronts or business premises which are higher than 4.6m above ground level and most advertisements on gable ends.

You also need permission for signs advertising goods not sold at the premises where the sign is placed.

The Council take into account how the local residents and highway safety are affected. Some advice on this is available in Planning Policy Guidance Note 19 – Outdoor Advertisement Control. For example, if an advertisement would visually dominate a group of 'listed' buildings or a residential area it is more likely to be refused.

But where there are large buildings and main highways, for example in industrial or commercial areas, the local planning authority may grant consent for a large hoarding which might not look out of place.

Considerations do not usually include:

  • content
  • subject matter
  • decency.

These factors are controlled by a voluntary code of conduct supervised by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Public safety means the safety of road traffic, other modes of transport or pedestrians. The local planning authority assesses likely effects on driver behaviour and possible confusion with traffic signs or signals.

The local planning authority knows that advertisements are intended to attract people's attention, so signs would not automatically be regarded as a distraction to road users. However, what really matters is whether a sign is so distracting or confusing that it creates a danger.


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Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

You need to make a Listed Building Consent application to demolish or alter a Listed Building or to demolish a building in a Conservation Area. 



You will not normally need to apply for planning permission to knock down your house or any of its outbuildings, unless the council has made an 'Article 4 direction' restricting the demolition or alterations you could normally carry out under permitted development rules.

However, where demolition of any kind of residential property is proposed, the council may wish to agree the details of how you intend to carry out the demolition and how you propose to restore the site afterwards.

You will need to apply for a formal decision on whether the council wishes to approve these details before you start demolition. This is what is called a 'prior approval application' and we will be able to explain what it involves.


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Working from home

You do not usually need planning permission to work from home. The key test is whether the overall character of the home will change as a result of a business being conducted from the property. In short; is it still mainly a residential property?

If the answer to any of the following questions is yes, then permission will probably be needed:

  • Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private home?
  • Will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or visitors?
  • Will your business involve any activities unusual in a residential area?
  • Will your business disturb your neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?

Whatever business you carry out from your home - perhaps using part of it as a bedsit or for bed-and-breakfast accommodation, using a room as an office, childminding, using rooms for dressmaking or music teaching, using buildings in the garden for repairing cars or storing goods connected with a business – the key test is: is it still mainly a home or has it become a business premises?


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Commercial Development

Just like homeowners, business also benefit from not requiring planning permission for certain types of works. This page looks at what works can be undertaken to a commercial property without the need to make a planning application.

Even more so than houses, commercial properties vary in scale to a much larger degree. A small high street butcher, is in planning terms the same "Use Class" as a hypermarket.

Extending or altering an industrial building or warehouse is considered to be permitted development, subject to the following:

  • no development to come within 5m of any boundary 
  • development must be within an existing unit  (known as the "Curtilage" in planning)
  • no extension or alteration to make building higher than 5m, if within 10m of the boundary. In all other cases any extension or alteration must not be higher than the building being extended or altered* 
  • the extension or alteration must not exceed the gross floor space of the original building by more than 25% or 1,000 square metres, whichever is lesser ("Original" in Planning means as it was in 1947) 
  • development would reduce space available for parking or turning
  • no development within a listed building
  • any industrial building extended or altered must relate to the current use of the building, staff uses or for research and development of products or processes
  • any warehouse extended or altered must relate to the current use of the building or the provision of staff facilities
  • no extended or altered building to provide staff facilities:
    • between 7pm and 6.30am, for employees other than those present at the premises of the undertaking for the purposes of their employment
    • at all, if a notifiable quantity of hazardous substances (PDF 39kb) is present


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