Demolition permission and approval

It is important to know how the demolition of buildings is controlled through the planning system

The following are questions and answers on demolition and the planning system.

Q. Do I need planning permission if I am going to demolish a building?

A. If you propose to demolish part ,or parts, of a building, the answer is yes if the part demolition makes a material alteration to the external appearance of the building.

Q. What if I am going to demolish a whole building; would I not need planning permission for that ?

A. In the large majority of cases, you would not need planning permission. However, instead, you might need prior approval from the council.

Q So when would I need prior approval ?

A. Prior approval is required when you wish to demolish a dwellinghouse or a flat, or when you propose to demolish any other building that shares the same wall with a dwellinghouse or a flat.

Q What is prior approval; isn't that just the same as planning permission ?

A. No. It's not the same. Prior approval does not consider everything that an application for planning permission would need to consider. Prior approval is there to ensure that the council is happy with how the demolition is to take place, and the condition in which any site is left following the works.

Q. What if the demolition is urgent or necessary on the grounds of safety; would prior approval still be needed ?

A. No. In these circumstances the need for prior approval would be removed.

Q. So in what circumstances would full planning permission be required to demolish a whole building, instead of prior approval ?

A. Planning permission (instead of prior approval) is still required in cases where any building has been deliberately run down and is dangerous or uninhabitable and things can be done to repair the building without the need to demolish it.

Planning permission is also still required in cases where demolition involves development requiring an environmental assessment under the EIA Regulations.

Q. If my proposed demolition works are part and parcel of a larger development that I need planning permission for, would I still need to apply separately for these demolition aspects ?

A. No. there would be no need to apply separately as long as the original planning application for the larger development clearly highlights any demolition works within the proposal .

Q. Do all these same planning "rules", and the answers given, apply equally to any demolition works affecting listed buildings or conservation areas ?

A. Yes; these answers equally apply. It should be noted that, in addition, listed building consent and conservation area consent for any demolition works would be required, in the normal way, as part of separate approval processes.

All this information provided here on demolition works is advisory in nature, and is not intended to represent formal legal advice.

If you wish to submit any application for demolition works , we would encourage you to do so through ePlanning, where you can log in and and complete the relevant forms.

Other types of permission that may be required for demolition works include building warrant. See our related page for information on demolition and building warrants

Please use the 'contact us' box if you have any questions. For more information, see 'related pages', 'downloads' or 'other useful websites'.

A to Z of services