Do I need planning permission?

Whether you need planning permission or not will depend on what you want to do. Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without planning permission. This is called permitted development. But, you may need planning permission to change the use of your property, for example a shop to an office or a conversion of a house into flat. You can find further information as to whether or not you need planning permission on the web link below: 

If you want a formal decision as to whether planning permission is required for your development, you will need to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. Full details of which can be found on our submitting an application page.

You can also seek advice on your development by submitting a pre-application advice application to us.

Note: The Government has made a number of changes to permitted development rights which were introduced in April 2015. These changes include new rules to allow more flexibility for retail units, office buildings to be converted to residential use without planning permission, along with an increase in the limits for householder single storey rear extensions. There are also new processes for dealing with these proposals as well.

Houses of Multiple Occupation

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) are defined as 3 to 6 occupants who share basic amenities as set out under Government Circular 08/2010 – Changes to Planning Regulations for dwelling houses and houses in multiple occupation. Turning to the legislation itself, on the 6th April 2010, an amendment was to made to the Use Classes Order (The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) (Amendment) (England) Order 2010 (SI 2010/653) which introduced the definition of small-scale house in multiple occupation. It effectively split the old Use Class C3 (dwelling houses) into 2 separate classes. These classes are defined as C3 (dwelling house) and Class C4 (houses in multiple occupation). This reclassification therefore, did not amount to change of use under planning permission. Therefore, planning permission would not have been required to convert a residential property into a House of Multiple Occupation.

Notwithstanding the above, the Borough Council has introduced an Article 4 Direction relating to Houses in Multiple Occupation. This Direction came into force on 20 September 2017 which takes away permitted development rights and requires a planning application to be submitted for all conversions of residential properties to Houses of Multiple Occupation. To view a copy of the Article 4 Direction and for further information relating to this Direction please visit our Planning Policy website page.

Separately, if you are looking to convert a dwelling house into a HMO, you may require a licence under Environmental Health legislation and Building Regulations approvals as well. Notwithstanding this, if you are looking to convert a dwelling house where there would be more than 6 occupants sharing facilities, you will require permission from us. This is because it would be classed as a Large House in Multiple Occupation which is defined as class "Sui Generis" as set out in the above legislation.