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What needs planning permission

Planning permission is generally required for new buildings, major alterations to existing buildings and to change the use of buildings or land. Always check if you need to apply for planning permission before starting any work.

The duty officer will be able to give brief verbal advice on whether you need planning permission, although you will always be advised to check this yourself or seek written advice for certainty. The duty officer is available Tuesday to Thursday between 10am and 1pm to provide general advice on the planning system and processes.

  • Call 01387 260199
  • Visit Ashwood House in Stranraer (every second Thursday)
  • Visit Kirkbank House in Dumfries (Tuesday, Wednesday and every second Thursday)

If you want informal written advice, you should submit a Permitted Development Enquiry. Please note that there is a charge for this service.

You can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a Proposed Use or Development  if you want formal confirmation that your proposals don't require planning permission. The fee for this will be higher and the decision will take longer than the above service, but may be required if, for example, you are selling a property.

Work that may not need planning permission

Some work is not classed as development and does not require planning permission, this includes:

  • Works that only affect the inside of a building
  • Minor alterations that don't materially affect the external alteration of a building
  • Works for the maintenance or improvement of a road
  • Works for inspecting, repairing or renewing utilities infrastructure
  • Use of any buildings or the land immediately surrounding it that is directly associated with or related to that use (such as gardening or for non-commercial purposes)
  • Use of land for agriculture or forestry
  • Demolition of a building under instruction from the Scottish Government

Some types of work are classed as  permitted development and don't need permission as long as they are within defined thresholds:

Other types of consent

Some properties or sites may be situated in areas where  planning constraints apply and additional consent might be required.

Planning advice and enquiries

Once you know that planning permission is required, we can provide advice on whether a development is likely to be approved or not before submitting an application.

Find out more about requesting planning advice

Page last updated: 15/08/2018
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