Warehouses and industrial buildings

Planning Permission

The erection, extension or alteration of an industrial building or warehouse is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions shown below.

Specific to new industrial buildings and warehouses:

  • No new building to be higher than 5m, if within 10m of the curtilage boundary. In other cases no new building to be higher than the highest building within the curtilage boundary or 15m - whichever is lower
  • No new building to exceed gross floor space of 100 square metres in designated land and sites of special scientific interest. In other cases 200 square metres.

Specific to extending or altering industrial buildings and warehouses:

  • No extension or alteration to make building higher than 5m, if within 10m of the curtilage boundary. In all other cases any extension or alteration must not be higher than the building being extended or altered.

Applicable to all:

  • Development must be within the curtilage of an existing industrial building or warehouse
  • Gross floor space must not exceed:
    • 110% of the original building or 500 square metres (whichever is lesser) on designated land
    • 125% of the original building or 1,000 square metres (whichever is the lesser) on a site of special scientific interest
    • 150% of the original building or 1,000 square metres (whichever is the lesser) in all other cases
  • No development to come within 5m of the curtilage boundary
  • No development within the curtilage of a listed building
  • On designated land any new, extended or altered buildings to use materials similar in external appearance to those used for existing industrial building or warehouse
  • Developments that would reduce space available for parking or turning vehicles are not permitted development
  • Any new, extended or altered industrial building must relate to the current use of the original building, the provision of staff facilities or for research and development of products or processes
  • Any new, extended or altered warehouse must relate to the current use of the original building or the provision of staff facilities
  • No new, extended or altered building to provide staff facilities:
    • Between 7pm and 6.30am, for employees other than those present at the premises of the undertaking for the purposes of their employment
    • At all, if a notifiable quantity of hazardous substance is present

Where there is any doubt as to whether a development would be permitted development, advice from the local planning authority should be sought. To be certain that a proposed development is lawful and does not require an application for planning permission, it is possible to apply for a "Lawful Development Certificate" from the local authority.

A local planning authority may also have removed some permitted development rights by issuing what is known as an Article 4 Direction or may have removed those rights on the original, or any subsequent, planning permission for the site.

This will mean a planning application will be needed for development which normally does not need one. Before undertaking any development, checks should be undertaken with the local planning authority to determine whether any restrictions on permitted development have been made.

Terms used in this guide

  • Industrial Building – means a building used for the carrying out of an industrial process and includes a building used for the carrying out of such a process on land used as a dock, harbour or quay for the purposes of an industrial undertaking and land used for research and development of products or processes, but does not include a building on land in or adjacent to and occupied together with a mine
  • Warehouse – means a building used for any purpose within Class B8 (storage or distribution) of the Schedule to the Use Classes Order but does not include a building on land in or adjacent to and occupied together with a mine.
  • The erection of a building or warehouse will involve the establishment of a new building that is not physically joined to any wall of an existing building on the site.
  • The curtilage normally comprises the area of land surrounding the premises. However, in some cases, it may not comprise all of the land in which the premises sits. Where there is any doubt as to what the curtilage comprises, we strongly advise that you contact your local planning authority for advice
  • Height of the highest building – should be calculated as the height of the ridge line of the main roof (even if there are roofs with ridge lines at a lower or higher level) or the height of the main roof where roofs on a building are flat or mono-pitched.
  • Any protrusions, such as chimneys, flues, plant and machinery and antennae above the roof should not be taken into account when considering the height of the highest building within the curtilage. However, when calculating the height of any building being erected, extended or altered, the measurement should be to the highest part of the new building, extension, or alteration and should include any protrusions above the roof.

  • Original building - The original building is defined as a building as it existed on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). or as it was built when built after 1 July 1948. The original building will therefore not include any extension to a building that has been built at any time since 1 July 1948. The original building does not, however, include any new building that has been built at any time without the need for planning permission as a result of the legislation.
  • There may be more than one original building within the curtilage of the premises. Where this is the case, and the buildings are used for the same undertaking, they will be treated as a single original building for the purposes of measurement. Thus the gross floor space of the original building will be calculated on the basis of the gross floor space of every original building within the curtilage of the premises.

  • Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.
  • Hazardous substances - A ‘Notifiable quantity’ of a hazardous substance is as set out in Schedule 1 to The Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015 (as amended).
  • Employee facilities – means social, care or recreational facilities provided for employees of the undertaking, including crèche facilities provided for the children of such employees.