Do I need planning permission?

New planning applications during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The most efficient way to submit new applications currently is electronically via the Planning Portal. Electronic applications are easier to review and validate while everyone is working from home.

For the time being we have limited access to our office, however, this is subject to change at short notice. Any further limitations to access will make the submission of paper applications very difficult, if not impossible – so we ask where possible that everything is submitted electronically.

Site notices will generally be sent to applicants to put up (with instructions) and will not be put up by officers. Neighbour letters will continue as usual and applications will be advertised in ‘The Argus’ newspaper.

Changes of Use to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – New Rules from 3 June 2020

The Article 4 Direction covering five wards of the city that requires planning permission for changes of use from use class C3 (dwelling house) to a use class C4 (small HMO) is being extended citywide from 3 June 2020. This means that a change of use from C3 to C4 will require planning permission anywhere in the city from this date, except the area within the South Downs National Park.
There is no need to apply for planning permission for properties that were already in Class C4 use within the expanded Article 4 Direction Area before the Direction comes into effect. You should seek to secure your own evidence, such as copies of tenancy agreements, to show that the property was in Class C4 use on or before 3 June 2020. 
You can also apply to the city council for a Certificate of Lawful Use. There is a fee for this certificate. If you are in any doubt you should seek independent advice.


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

Householders - sources of information

Please be aware that for formal confirmation that works are permitted development you will need to apply for a certificate of lawful development

Special cases

  • Even if your development seems to be permitted by these rules, it's still important  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

Certificate of Lawful Development

General Policy Guidance and Advice 

See our policy advice and guidance section of our website for more information.


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.

Building Regulations

Even if your building project does not need planning permission, you will still need to comply with Building Regulations