Planning advice for businesses

Do I need planning permission?

New buildings and major changes to existing buildings – including changes of use – usually need planning permission.

Minor work inside the building, extensions, and additional buildings within your grounds may not need planning permission.

If you’re unsure whether you need planning permission, check with us before you get started.


On holdings of at least 5 hectares, you may not need planning permission to:

  • extend or alter a building (if it’s reasonably necessary for your agricultural work)

Even if you don’t need planning permission, you may need approval for some of the details of the development, so it’s always best to check.

You will usually need planning permission to:

  • build new premises
  • change the use of any of your buildings, eg to open a farm shop

See our farm diversification guide for more information.


You don’t usually need planning permission for a factory or warehouse extension if it’s:

  • less than 1000 square metres of floor space
  • less than 25% of the volume of the original building, and
  • below the height of the original building

The extension must be related to the current use of the building or the provision of staff facilities.

You will need planning permission if the extension:

  • materially affects the external appearance of the building
  • comes within 5 metres of the boundary of the site, or
  • reduces the amount of space available for parking or turning of vehicles

Change of use of buildings

If you’re planning to make a material change of use of a building or parcel of land, you may need planning permission.

No application is needed if the proposed and existing uses fall within the same class.

See the planning portal for more information.

Building regulations approval

If you’re planning to carry out work on an existing building, you’ll need Building Regulations approval.

Also see our historic and listed building page to see what you can and cannot do on these types of buildings.

For more information please email us.