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Find out if you need planning permission

Planning permission for business premises

Do I need planning permission to run my small business from my home?

You do not usually need planning permission if only part of your home is used for business purposes. The test that we use to decide if you need planning permission is whether the overall character of your home would change as a result of the business.

You might need to apply for planning permission to work from home if:

  • your home is no longer used mainly as your private residence
  • your business leads to a noticeable increase in traffic or people calling at your property
  • your business involves any activities that are unusual in a residential area
  • your business disturbs your neighbours at unreasonable hours or causes other nuisances such as noise or smells

The Planning Portal offers guidance on whether you need to apply for planning permission before starting a business from your home

If you are still unsure, you can apply for pre-application advice to discuss your plans with us. If you have read the information above and are confident that you do not need planning permission to start a business from your home, you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to confirm this. 

Making changes to a business premises

You usually need planning permission to make a change to your business premises, including:

  • extentions to a shop or office
  • alterations to shop fronts
  • installing external security shutters or grilles
  • changes in the use of the land or buildings

The Use Class Order (external website) was updated on 1 September 2020. Read the Planning Portal's guide on use classes (external website) for more information.

Below is our summary of the changes that came into force on 1 September 2020.

Use Class What is included  New use class from 1 September 2020
Class A

A1 - Shops

A2 - Financial and Professional services

A3 - Restaurants and Cafes 

A4 - Drinking Establishments 

A5 - Hot Food Takeaways

Use class E
Class B

B1 - Business 

Use class E
Class B

B2 - General Industrial

B8 - Storage or Distribution

No change
Class C

C1 - Hotels

C2 - Residential Institutions

C3 - Dwellinghouses 

C4 - Houses in Multiple Occupation

No change
Class D

D1 - Non-residential Institutions

D2 - Assembly and Leisure

Use classes E and F
Sui Generis

'Sui generis' is a Latin term that, in this context, means ‘in a class of its own’. 

Certain uses are specifically defined and excluded from classification by legislation.

No change

Page last updated: 02 February 2023

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