Permitted development

Find out if you need planning permission or additional consents for your development

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 the Scottish Government guidance 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?

Permitted development rights mean that many types of small alterations and extensions can be carried out to homes without the need to apply for planning permission. Guidance is available on the Scottish Government website on the types of developments that can be carried out without the need for planning permission, such as certain alterations and extensions to homes and flats, installation of certain renewable energy microgeneration systems, and installing CCTV equipment:

If you are looking for confirmation on whether you need to submit a planning application for your any alterations or extensions to your home, please use our "Do I need Planning Permission Service" (please note, there are charges for this service).

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 constraints, and any issues specific to your project or development

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