When planning permission is needed

Do I need planning permission?

Whether you need planning permission for work you are hoping to carry out depends on a number of things. The sections below cover various situations in which you may need planning permission.

Carrying out works without planning permission where required may result in enforcement action being taken and you could end up with a fine (of up to £20,000) and / or a criminal conviction.

If after reading the below advice you are unsure whether you need permission we offer a planning advice service so that you can discuss your proposal with a planning officer. This is a chargeable service depending on the nature of the proposal.

Residential planning permission

New build homes will always require planning permission. Policies SS1, GD2 and GD4 of our Local Plan sets out the Spatial Strategy for Harborough and policies used to determine where new development may be acceptable.

If you are planning to build an extension or carry out work to your home or garden there are some cases where you may not need to apply for planning permission, providing the works meet certain limits and conditions, this is known as Permitted Development. The Planning Portal provides answers to some frequently asked questions and offers guides covering a wide range of common projects which may not require Planning Permission, such as:

Guidance is also available for the creation of a new vehicle access (or dropped kerb).

Further advice on Permitted Development is available here or you can view the Planning Portal's guides for common projects and developments and interactive house.

If you want to be certain that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission you will need to apply for a 'Lawful Development Certificate' (LDC).


Most alterations to business premises do need planning permission, but some alterations may be Permitted Development. You can find out more here

You will normally need permission for:

  • Alterations to shop fronts
  • External security shutters or grille

You can view the Planning Portal's interactive guide for shops here

Change of Use

Under the planning system, all land and buildings have a designated lawful use , such as a house, office, shop.

You may need planning permission to change the use of your property eg from a shop to an office or from a house to bedsits.

Conservation areas and listed buildings

Special consent is required for development work on listed buildings and in conservation areas.

If your proposed works are to a Listed Building, you will almost certainly need Listed Building Consent, as well as any relevant planning permission or building regulations approval. You can find out whether your building is listed using the Historic England website.


Most outdoor advertisements require a special form of planning permission called Advertisement Consent. Displaying advertisements without advertisement consent is a criminal offence. 

Trees and hedgerows

Works to trees and hedgerows may require permission. If a tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), or is located within a designated conservation area, then you will need to will normally need to obtain consent from the council before carrying out any works to it. You can find out more information about trees maintained by the Council or County Council, or work on trees protected by a TPO or conservation area here.

If you have a dispute regarding a neighbour's high hedge you must try to settle a dispute about a high hedge informally before we can take any action.

Advice before you apply for planning permission

Whilst we do have some information on our website, our pre-application advice service can provide you with more detailed advice on whether planning permission or other consent may be required. If it is required we can advise whether it is likely to be approved.

Building regulation consent

Even if you don't need planning permission you may still need building regulation consent.