Do I need planning permission?


See links below for householders, business, change of use, conversions, special cases, trees and building projects.

You are likely to need planning permission for new buildings and for major changes to existing properties and the local environment. 

Minor work on Listed Buildings or work in Conservation Areas is also likely to need consent.

In certain circumstances, developments are automatically permitted – this 'permitted development’ does not require consent. The sections below summarise the issues and further sources of advice.

Check the 'Permission Needed?' section of the Planning Portal, and look up your project in their list of Common Projects.

Contact Development Control if you do not find what you need.


Building Regulations

Difference between Building Regs and Planning Permission. Even if your building project does not need planning permission, you will still need to comply with Building Regulations. For more information, go to the Portals' extensive Building Regulations pages or our own Building Control pages.


Householders - sources of information

The Portal has an interactive house/terrace for householders, including renewable energy, windows and many other common developments. It also has a volume calculator for calculating the volume of a number of different kinds of buildings or extensions.

View Brighton & Hove's Policies and Guidance for Householder proposals.

What to do next.


Business - sources of information

You also need to check with us if you want to change the use of a building. For more information on this go to our Use Classes and Change of Use page.

See Brighton & Hove's Policies and Guidance for advertisements.

See Brighton & Hove's Policies for Commercial proposals.

'Planning Permission - a Guide for Business' by the Department for Communities and Local Government.


Special cases

Even if your development seems to be permitted by these rules, it's still important to contact the council’s Development Control team to check that the building or land has not had its permitted development rights removed or limited for some reason. In some cases, there will be special conditions attached to previous development that can restrict these rights.

Brighton & Hove also has Article 4 directions which limit the scope of permitted development rights in these areas of the city.


Listed buildings and conservation areas

Some of Brighton & Hove’s older properties are protected from development because of their special architectural or historical interest. Also, parts of the city are designated conservation areas because of their special character and appearance.

Tighter planning controls, including for demolition or partial demolition, apply to both listed buildings and properties in conservation areas. This includes internal works to Listed Buildings.

To find out if your property is protected, check our Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas pages. See also our Policies and Guidance on Listed Buildings and demolition in Conservation Areas. 

If your property is affected, you will need to apply for Listed Building Consent in addition to your Application for Planning Permission. Find out how to do all this in our guide How to apply for planning permission.



Please contact our Arboricultural Service for any advice on work relating to trees, or if you see tree work taking place which you believe may not be authorised.


Certificate of Lawful Development

If you need to prove to anyone, such as a prospective buyer, that building work you’ve done is lawful, you can apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development.

Brighton & Hove's LDC Checklist. 


Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO's)

There has been some dispute in recent years, particularly following the introduction of the new Use Class C4 (Small HMOs – up to 6 residents sharing), as to whether these benefit from permitted development rights. The issue became more complex with the ability to interchange between Class C3 dwellinghouses and Class C4 Small HMOs.

There have been differing opinions on this matter between local authorities, and as the legislation is silent on the matter, this Local Planning Authority has been guided by appeal decisions. Initially, appeal decisions indicated that HMOs, both Class C4 and Sui Generis, did not benefit from permitted development rights, and thus any alterations would require planning permission.

However, more recently, there were differing views coming forward and some appeals were being allowed, meaning that HMOs do benefit from permitted development rights, as they are considered to be a dwellinghouse.

In January 2014, the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) issued advice to its Inspectors on this very issue, and advised that HMOs, both C4 and Sui Generis, that are considered to be a dwellinghouse do benefit from permitted development rights.

In light of this clarification the Local Planning Authority has adopted an approach which is in alignment with that of PINS. This is effective from 11 March 2014.

If you have any queries please do contact us on 01273 292222