Do I need planning permission?

Information on whether or not planning permission is required

When you need planning permission

You need planning permission for any project that involves 'development'. Development is defined as:

  • building
  • engineering
  • mining
  • operations in, on, over or under land
  • making a material change in the use of any building or land

When you don't need permission

Some types of development can be carried out without planning permission. These are referred to as permitted development. The most common of these relate to extensions and alterations to houses.

On 24 May 2024 revisions to these permitted development rights came into effect. One significant revision is regarding permitted development rights to change windows in conservation areas.

Read the updated Scottish Government guidance on householder permitted development rights.

Non-domestic properties

Permitted development rights can also apply to retail, industrial and other types of development as well as allowing certain changes of use.

The legislation around this can be very complicated. For advice, visit the Scottish Government’s planning page. You can also check for permitted changes of use as defined in the use classes order.

Permitted development rights are heavily restricted for buildings in conservation areas and do not apply to listed buildings. You should always contact us before undertaking any works to a listed building.

Planning advice from Stirling Council

If you want some advice on whether or not you need planning permission, visit our page about pre application advice.

Open our planning toolbox for information around the planning process.

If you don't need, or are unsure if you need, planning permission, but would like written confirmation your development is lawful, you can apply for a certificate of lawfulness on the ePlanning portal.

Responsibility for applying

The property owner or landowner is responsible for seeking planning permission. They can appoint a representative to act on their behalf. If permission is needed, work should not start until it has been granted.

Planning processing agreement

The planning processing agreement is an informal agreement between Stirling Council and the applicant. It identifies the key milestones in the planning application process and lists the information required to successfully process the application. It is not legally binding.

Download a draft planning process agreement


These are established by the Scottish Government to inform Councils what constitutes as development. Stirling Council has no flexibility over regulations.

Retrospective applications

We will consider retrospective application in the same way that they would any other. Retrospective permission may be granted. However, there is a risk that permission may not be granted and enforcement action may be taken.

This action could include modifying completed works or returning the development to its previous ‘permitted’ state.