Planning a new business

Do you need planning permission?

Working from home

You do not necessarily need planning permission to work from home. The key test is whether the overall character of the dwelling will change as a result of the business.

If the answer to any of the following questions is "yes", then you will probably need permission:

  1. Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence? 
  2. Will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling? 
  3. Will your business involve any activities unusual in a residential area? 
  4. 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, whether it involves using part of it as a bed-sit or for "bed and breakfast" accommodation, personal office, childminding service, hairdressing, dressmaking, music teaching, or 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 business premises?

Change of use

In many cases, a change of use of a building or land does not require planning permission. For example, a greengrocer's can be changed to a shoe shop without permission. Planning permission is not required when both the present and proposed uses fall within the same "class" as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987. It is also possible to change use between some classes without making an application. Before you negotiate a lease or buy a property, it may be advisable to consider whether you need to obtain planning permission for your intended use and, if so, your chances of getting it.


Extending or building new premises

Extending existing premises may not always require planning permission, but it is always best to check with us first

Building a new premises nearly always requires a planning application. The development plan in force in your area will give you some indication of whether your proposal is likely to be acceptable, so it is worth talking to the Planning team before submitting an application. If there are difficulties, officers may be able to suggest ways to make your proposal more acceptable. However, they cannot guarantee that your plans will be approved.