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Planning permission

Date updated: 25/08/2022
Contact the Planning team

Not all developments such as some changes of use, minor alterations or extensions need planning permission. Go to the submitting the planning application requirements page and the individual development pages for information on developments or alterations that need planning permission.

Change of use from office to residential

The City of London Corporation made an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for the change of use from offices to residential so planning permission is needed for this change of use. Contact the Planning team in the Department of the Built Environment for more information on the Article 4 Direction. The original Article 4 Direction expired on 31 July 2022.

The City Corporation consulted on a replacement from 17 May-25 June 2021, following changes to the Use Classes Order in September 2020. The Other planning policy documents page has more information on the consultation.

On 23 July 2022, the City Corporation confirmed the making of a further non-immediate Article 4 Direction to remove national permitted development rights for the change of use of offices (Use Class E(g)(i)) to residential (Use Class C3) under the 2020 amendments to the Use Classes Order. This one came into effect on 1 August 2022.

Business changes

The most common types of permitted development for businesses are:

  • Minor Operations involving the erection of gates and boundary walls, construction of a means of access to a highway, painting of buildings and the provision of electric vehicle recharging points.
  • Changes of Use. There are many changes of use that are permitted development but the most common in the City of London are between various classes of retail activity, eg a restaurant to a shop, a shop to a bank and to another use specifically authorised when the existing activity was approved but this must be within 10 years of the planning permission being granted.
  • Temporary buildings and structures required in connection with building operations.
  • Telecommunications development; Installation of CCTV camera.
  • Minor extensions or alteration of an office building.
  • Minor extensions or alteration of Shop (Use Class A1) or Financial and Professional Services (Use Class A2) premises.

In most cases there are restrictions on where Permitted Development rights apply and on the size and location of the works and uses. We recommended that you contact the Planning Team to find out whether the work or use you intend to do is permitted development

Residential changes

Most residents in the City live in flats but works that would be permitted development on a house may not be permitted development on a flat. Even minor alterations such as replacing a window or an external door may need planning permission. Go to the Planning Portal's Guidance on flats and maisonettes for more information.