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Find out if you need planning permission

Find out if you need planning permission and what resources are available to help you make a successful application.

Published on: 29 December 2020

Last updated: 22 February 2022

You may need to make a planning application if you want to:

  • build something new
  • make a change to your building such as an extension or a change to its appearance 
  • change the use of all or part of your building

Different rules apply to listed buildings and adverts and signs.

Additional controls apply within conservation areas.

For further guidance, please visit the Planning Portal. You can view advice on planning rules for a range of common projects, such as windows, extensions and energy efficiency measures and use their interactive guides.

If your project needs planning permission and you carry out the work without getting it, you can be served an enforcement notice ordering you to undo all the changes you have made.

Permitted development rights

These allow you to make minor changes to your property or undertake certain works such as change of use without a planning application. For more information on permitted development, please see the Planning Portal

In some cases you may not need to apply for planning permission but may still need to let us know what you are doing - this is known as prior approval or notification.

If you would like confirmation that works are permitted development, you can submit a certificate of lawfulness application. 

In some parts of Westminster we have made Article 4 Directions which remove permitted development rights.


Our pre-application service offers written advice by professional officers before you submit an application.

 Get pre-application advice

You can also read policies and guidance which we use to determine applications.

You can find out how to make your application here.

You may wish to contact a registered architect or planning consultant to help you prepare your application. The Architects Registration Board allows you to search for an architect or the Royal Town Planning Institute includes an online directory of planning consultants.

We are unable to give advice on the telephone as to whether or not planning permission is required, or whether your proposal is likely to be acceptable as circumstances may vary from one site to another.