Permitted development

Do you need planning permission?  Businesses  Additional consents  Contact Planning

Types of development requiring permission and permitted development

If you would like to make small alterations or extensions to your property, such as building an interior wall or erecting a small garden shed, you may not require planning permission. This is known as “permitted development”.
If you live in a conservation area, you are unlikely to have any permitted development rights.  If your application is regarding a listed building there are also stricter rules in place. Please see our guide for more information.

You should ALWAYS contact us to receive confirmation of whether you need planning permission or not.  

Material change of use

The change in the use of any land or existing building may need planning permission.. The “Use Classes Order” is a specific piece of planning legislation which categorises many common uses into groups. Generally, if the change falls within the same group, e.g. from one kind of shop to another (although this does exclude hot food take-aways), permission is not required. This generality does depend on the circumstances and the Councils’ planning officers can advise on this.

If the land is in a conservation area or is a listed building the rules are more stringent.

Renewable energy

The installation of small-scale microgeneration equipment is unlikely to require planning permission, however you should check with your local Planning office.


Agricultural operations, or the use of existing buildings on agricultural land for agricultural purposes will not need planning permission. Please check with your local planning office before carrying out any works.

Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent

If the land is in a conservation area or is a listed building the control over such development are more stringent. Within a Conservation Area consent is required to undertake the demolition of buildings and substantial structures. Works to Listed Buildings require specific consent for any internal or external alterations if they affect the historic fabric of the building. Whether a building is listed or within one of Argyll’s  Conservation Area can be found by following the relevant links below.

Conservation areas

Check to see if your property lies in a conservation area. We also have a list of conservation areas in pdf format. 

You can read our conservation area guidance and apply for conservation area consent.

Listed buildings

Check to see if your property is a listed building. You can read our listed building guidance and apply for listed building consent.


Most alterations to business premises do need planning permission, including:

  • all shop and office extensions
  • alterations to shop fronts
  • external security shutters or grilles

Do I need planning permission?

If you are planning on doing some small alterations or building work to a household (residential property), please take a look over our guides below. The links take you to the Scottish Government website and include basic introductory guidance. These will give you an idea whether you need to apply for planning permission or not and which forms you will require. Use our "Do I need Planning Permission Service" to receive confirmation.

Certificates of Lawfulness

Apply for a certificate of lawfulness

If you want to be certain that your proposed or existing development does not need planning permission, you can apply for a certificate of lawfulness.

A Certificate of Lawfulness for proposed development or use allows you to get a decision from us on whether you need planning permission for your proposal. You should apply for a certificate of lawfulness if you want a definite decision that your proposal is lawful and does not need planning permission, or that if you go ahead with your proposal, you don't run the risk of future enforcement action.

A Certificate of Lawfulness for an existing development or use allows you to get a decision on whether you need planning permission for building work or development that has already taken place. An application for a certificate of lawfulness for existing development or use is usually made for one of two reasons:

  • if we take enforcement action, and the owner believes they are immune from action as the time limit for taking enforcement action has passed.
  • if the owner discovers, in the course of selling the property or land, that planning permission was never given for the development, and they need to show possible buyers that we can't take enforcement action.

In this case, you may also need to apply for a Letter of Comfort from our Building Standards officers.

Contact us

If you think you do need planning permission, you can get more guidance and information on our Make a Planning Application page.

If you are still unsure about whether or not you need Planning Permission, please use our pre-application guidance service to contact our planning officers for pre-application advice, on matters such as planning permissions and other consents and contraints, and any issues specific to your project or development