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Planning - residential

A row of terraced housesIf a resident is thinking of making alterations to their house or flat they should contact Planning Services to see if they require planning permission.


Planning permission may be required if the applicant's premises is a listed building, if the applicant is planning to alter or extend their home, if there is a change of use (e.g. working from home) and no longer a main home or if the applicant is interested in constructing a new home.


Permitted Development
You can usually make certain types of minor changes to your house without the need to apply for planning permission. These are known as ‘permitted development rights’  (PD rights).  However, the Local Planning Authority may have withdrawn PD rights when it originally granted planning permission for your house, so it is always best to be on the safe side and check with us first.
Please note that the regulations in relation to flats are different to those for single dwelling houses.
Most major work proposed by householders will need planning permission but some minor works do not.  Some basic guidance is provided below but you are advised to contact the Planning Office in writing or via email before starting any kind of work. You can download and use the Householder Permitted Development Enquiry Form (or request one from the Customer First Centre) to enquire whether planning permission is required.  We recommend that you use this form.  If at any point in the future you wish to sell your property it is possible that the prospective purchaser (or their solicitor) will seek written proof of planning permission, or that planning permission was not required. Click here for further details of our other pre-application advice services.

The Need for Permission
The following are common examples of things that will need planning permission from the Council:
  • Larger extensions to houses, any additions or extensions to flats or maisonettes
  • Dividing a house into flats or bed-sits or using a caravan as a home
  • Dividing off part of your home for business or commercial use or providing a parking space for a commercial vehicle
  • Anything that goes against planning conditions attached to an original planning permission eg. fences on an open plan estate
  • A new access to a classified road.

The Planning Portal has provided interactive guides for the following common projects, click on the links below for further information.



Alterations to Windows
You do not normally require planning permission to alter the windows of a dwelling (a house, not a flat or maisonette) unless it is a Listed Building or where other restrictions apply (e.g. an Article 4 Direction is in place or a planning condition is attached). Therefore, Planning Services recommend that you check before undertaking any works.

The Planning Portal has provided guidance regarding windows, click on the link below.


Roof Extensions/Alterations

In some areas of Scarborough and Whitby dormer windows are not permitted.  It is important to check with the planning office to see if this applies to your property.


The Planning Portal has provided an interactive guide to loft conversions, click on the link below.



Fences, Walls and Gates - (also applies to flats)
You will need to apply for planning permission if:
  • A fence, wall or gate would be over 1 metre high and next to a highway or over 2 metres high elsewhere.
  • You do not generally need planning permission to plant  trees or hedges but you might need permission to remove a planning condition restricting planting.
  • Your right to put up or alter fences, walls and gates is removed by an article 4 direction or a planning condition.
  • Your house is a listed building or in the curtilage of a listed building.
  • The fence, wall or gate, or any other boundary involved, forms a boundary with a neighbouring listed building or its curtilage.


You will not need to apply for planning permission to take down a fence, wall, or gate, or to alter or improve an existing fence, wall or gate (no matter how high) if you don't increase its height. In a conservation area, however, you might need conservation area consent to take down a fence, wall or gate.

Patios and Drives (hardstanding)
Provided that hard standing is only used for domestic purposes and that you are not creating a new access planning permission will not be required.
However, due to recent flooding issues there are conditions attached:
  • It is permitted development where the hard surface is situated between the principal elevation and a highway and the area covered exceeds 5 square metres with the proviso that the hard surface shall be made of porous materials or provision has been made to direct run-off water to a permeable or porous area within the boundary of your property.


The Planning Portal has provided a guide to patios and driveways, click on the link to go there


The demolition of fences, walls, gates and small outbuildings under 50 cubic metres does not normally need permission.  In other cases you should check with us first as you may need "Prior Approval" to agree the method of demolition and restoration of the site. Listed Building or Conservation Area Consent may also be needed.

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas
Special considerations apply for listed buildings and conservation areas and it is important that you talk to us first. Further information is available on the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas advice pages.

Related Pages

External Website Links


The Planning Portal has provided interactive house guides to show what is permitted development:



Q. How do I find out if I need planning permission?
A. By submitting a Householder Permittted Development Enquiry Form which can be downloaded from the Planning Forms page, or is available from the Customer First offices.
A to Z of Services


Regeneration and Planning
Scarborough Borough Council
Town Hall
St Nicholas Street
North Yorkshire
YO11 2HG

Fax: 0870 191 3997


LGNL: 485

Scarborough Borough Council,Town Hall, St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, North Yorkshire. YO11 2HG
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