You can perform certain types of work without a requirement to apply for planning permission. These "permitted development rights" and are generally where the scale and nature of a development is straightforward or minor.
These permitted development rights and types are set out in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992, as amended, with the effect of a general planning permission granted not by the Council but by the Scottish Government.
A part of the legislation provides specific householder permitted development rights for existing houses. With limitations, this provides some permitted development for works that could include:
- Extend a house.
- Alter windows and doors or render a wall.
- Install a rooflight or dormer.
- Erect a shed or garage or polycrub.
- Create a path or driveway.
- Install decking.
- Erect a fence or gate.
- Install solar or PV panels.
- Install an electric vehicle charger.
It should be noted that permitted development rights which apply to many projects for houses may not apply to flats or other types of building. Similarly, commercial or other non-domestic properties have different permitted development rights than houses.
It should also be noted that permitted development rights are restricted in some circumstances, including if a building is a listed building, in a conservation area, in a World Heritage Site, or within a National Scenic Area.
The Council as planning authority is not able to informally confirm whether proposed development is permitted development, i.e. we cannot provide a written answer to questions such as, “Do I need an application for this proposed shed?” or “Is this proposed house extension permitted development?”.
It is for a developer, householder, etc., to be satisfied that any proposed development falls within the terms of the legislation and therefore whether proposed development would be ‘permitted development’.
Should any party require formal confirmation in writing that proposed development is ‘permitted development’ or require certainty that the permitted development rights have been interpreted correctly, that party can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. This is the means of obtaining formal certification from the planning authority to confirm that proposed development does not require planning permission and is permitted development (or otherwise).
This is not the same as an application for planning permission and is an assessment of the facts and details of the proposed development in relation to legislation only.
Whilst a Certificate of Lawfulness can establish conclusively that a proposed development would be lawful and would not require an application for planning permission, this process is not a requirement. In most cases, developers or householders rely on interpretation of legislation. This may include by taking the advice of an architect or suitably qualified planning agent.
In summary, on the basis a formal process exists for a planning authority to provide confirmation in writing that works would be permitted development, this same confirmation cannot be provided through other correspondence.
If proposed works exceed permitted development rights, including where those rights are restricted, an application for planning permission will be required for the proposed development.
In relation to householder permitted development rights, information is available in the Scottish Government publication ‘Guidance on Householder Permitted Development Rights’. Flowcharts for development types are also provided by the Scottish Government. Both can be accessed behind the ‘Related Sites’ link below.