What needs planning permission

What needs planning permission?

Most kinds of development may need formal approval, such as:

  • altering or extending a house or flat, erecting a building in the garden of a house or altering a flat. Find more information about whether you need formal consent for works on a house of flat on the Scottish Government website
  • changing the use of land or buildings e.g. from residential to office use
  • forming an access onto a trunk road or a classified road
  • carrying out engineering or excavation works
  • agricultural or forestry related buildings and private ways
  • erecting or extending any other form of building or structure whether residential, industrial or commercial, including renewable energy developments

View current regulations on changes of use and non-domestic Permitted Development Rights:

To confirm that your proposals do not require planning permission, we will require a certificate of Lawfulness of a Proposed Use or Development

Will I get planning permission?

Advice is available as follows:

  • current planning policies and land allocations can be found in the Local Development Plan
  • an online version of the Local Development Plan is available on our FindIt mapping system
  • information and advice on particular themes and certain types of development can be found within our adopted Planning Guidance
  • certain development sites in the Scottish Borders are subject to planning briefs which set out how the planning authority would expect to see proposals brought forward in future applications

Other issues to consider

Listed Buildings

Works to the interior or exterior, including demolition, of Listed Buildings may require Listed Building Consent. Whether a building is listed can be established from Historic Environment Scotland

Conservation Areas

You can establish whether your property is in a Conservation Area from our Find It mapping system. 


Demolition of buildings and walls within Conservation Areas will require Conservation Area Consent unless exempt (see exemptions). Demolition of buildings outside Conservation Areas will require Prior Notification to us unless exempted under Class 70 of the General Permitted Development (Scotland) Order 1992 (as amended).   


Trees within Conservation Areas, protected by Tree Preservation Order, or subject to a condition of a planning consent are afforded protection. Further information is available. 


The need for advertisement consent for displaying signage and adverts is set out in national regulations. For the current signage regulations see The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Scotland) Regulations 1984 (and amendments)

Footway Crossing Permits

Irrespective of the need for planning permission, a permit will be required from the Roads Authority for a footway crossing (such as where forming a new access or driveway into a property, that crosses the footway).  

Planning History

You can search for the planning history of a site using our public access portal.  

Other sources of information

Further information, advice and guidance are available from various bodies: 

  • Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is the lead public body for the promotion of the historic environment. HES have produced guidance on works affecting Listed Buildings and their setting
  • Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) promotes care for the natural heritage, wildlife, habitats, rocks and landscapes of Scotland
  • the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland's principal environmental regulator. SEPA have standing planning advice online. They also have mapping on flood risk
  • the Scottish Government has overall responsibility for the national planning system, national planning policy, and certain planning decisions
  • Planning Aid Scotland (PAS) offers a free, impartial and confidential planning advice service, provided by specialist volunteers, all of whom are chartered planners. PAS helps individuals and community groups to get involved in the planning system in an impartial, open and inclusive way

Planning and other consultants working locally may be able to provide advice and assistance. This could incur costs. Local agents (Town Planners, Architects, Architectural Technologists, Surveyors, Land Agents) may be able to provide such independent advice:  

Making an application

A "which form?" wizard and planning fee calculator are available on the national eplanning website. 

Make a planning application online