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When you do or don't need planning permission and building approval

Do you need planning advice?

You need planning permission to do certain improvements and building work. You must find out if you need permission before you start. You may be able to make minor changes to your property without needing to apply for formal planning permission under a general planning permission granted by Parliament known as permitted development rights or because the works are so small and unnoticeable they are not considered to be development.

These rights are more restricted for properties in conservation areas. There are also different requirements for listed buildings.

Find out whether you need planning permission on the Planning Portal.

In 2013, significant amendments were made to permitted development rights affecting houses, schools, offices, shops and other commercial and industrial buildings. You may need to formally notify us or apply for prior approval before the development takes place in order to benefit from these new permitted development rights.

Doing work without planning permission

If people make alterations or build something without planning permission, we can take enforcement action to get them to put things back to how they were.

Islington specific rules – Conservation Areas and Article 4 directions

Conservation Areas
We have removed permitted development rights in 40 of Islington’s 42 conservation areas by issuing an Article 4 direction to prevent some minor alterations in order to preserve the character and appearance of these areas. This means that you may need to apply for planning permission to carry out minor alterations or home improvements such as changing external doors and windows or painting brickwork on the outside of a property.

  • view our interactive map for conservation areas and to view the Article 4 Direction.

Other Article 4s

On 15 July 2014, an Article 4 Direction came into force to remove Permitted Development (PD) rights which allow the change from A1 (shops), B1 (offices) and D1 (community uses) to temporary 'flexible uses'. This Direction applies borough-wide

On 18 September 2014, an Article 4 Direction came into force to remove Office to Residential PD rights for specific clusters of office uses in various parts of the borough outside the CAZ (which is fully exempt from the Office to Residential PD rights).  

Further information about these Article 4 Directions can be found on our Permitted Development webpage

Is Building Approval needed?


Most building work, whether it is alterations, change of use, extensions or new build, will require Building regulation approval.

Planning permission and Building Regulations are two separate areas: Planning Permission covers the site and surrounding area aspects, Building Regulations cover the construction of properties according to Approved Documents and British Standards.

Building Regulations are a set of standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health and safety of people in and around buildings. They also include requirements for disabled people and the conservation of fuel and power.

More information about Building Control can be found on the Planning Portal and in our Building Control section.





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