Planning permission for businesses

Businesses seeking to develop their premises may need to apply for planning permission. Permission may be required when building new premises, changing the use of existing premises, or extending existing buildings. Decisions are made in line with local planning policies and Government guidance. Businesses can check informally with Planning Services whether a proposed development needs planning permission by emailing You can also apply for a formal decision, known as a Lawful Development Certificate.

Working from home

Planning permission is not necessarily required to work from home. The key test is whether working from home changes the overall character of the dwelling. It is likely that you will need permission if you answer 'yes' to any of the following questions:

  • Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?
  • Will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?
  • 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?

Building new premises

Businesses seeking to build new premises may need to apply for planning permission. Applications for new premises are decided in line with national and local policy. Points that will be looked at include:

  • Number, size, layout and external appearance of buildings
  • Proposed means of access, landscaping and impact on the neighbourhood
  • Availability of infrastructure, such as roads and water supply
  • How the proposed use of the development relates to the locality

Extending existing premises

Minor extensions of existing premises, including additional buildings within the site, may not need a planning application if development is permitted under Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) Order 2010.

Changing the use of existing premises

As a business, you will usually need planning permission to change the use of any premises (as defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987). In some cases, a change of use will be allowed as permitted development. For guidance on when planning permission is not required for a change of use, see the information on change of use on the Planning Portal. Planning permission is not usually required for interior works, or small external alterations, such as telephone connections and alarm boxes.

Last updated: Tuesday, 11 April, 2023.