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Planning Permission

Permission or ‘prior approval’ may be required to demolish a building; it depends on a number of factors including the type and size of building and where it is located.

You should ask your local planning authority for advice to find out what is required for the demolition you have in mind before any work commences to avoid the risk of legal action being taken against you.

For example, see below for a summary of certain situations that require specific permissions before demolition can be carried out.

You are also advised to review the full official government guidance on the consent regimes around demolition and when permission is required on Gov.uk1.

  • Conservation areas – Any demolition within a conservation area is further restricted and will require an ‘Application for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area’ unless it meets certain criteria. See full details on Gov.uk2.
  • Listed buildings and scheduled ancient monuments – These are covered by different legislation and will require a different type of application.
  • Pubs or other drinking establishments – An application for full planning permission is required to demolish pubs or other drinking establishments, including those with expanded food provision. 
  • Concert halls, theatres, and venues for live music performance – An application for full planning permission is required to demolish buildings in use as concert halls, theatres, or venues for live music performance.
  • Unsafe/uninhabitable buildings – An application for full planning permission is required to demolish any building that has been rendered unsafe or otherwise uninhabitable, by the action or inaction of any person having an interest in the land on which the building stands, where it is practicable to secure safety or health by works of repair or works for affording temporary support.
  • Outdoor statues, memorials, and monuments – Any demolition of outdoor statues, memorials, and monuments is further restricted and may require Planning Permission unless it meets certain criteria. See full details on Gov.uk3.

Additionally, permitted development rights do not apply where demolition is:

  • on land which is the subject of planning permission for its redevelopment, granted on an application, or deemed to be granted
  • required or permitted to be carried out by or under any other enactment
  • required to be carried out by virtue of a relevant obligation.

Finally, you should also note that when demolition is permitted, it does not automatically follow that you will get planning permission to build any replacement structure or to change the use of the site, even in situations where the original building has suffered fire or storm damage.

Read more about permitted development rules.

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    1. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/when-is-permission-required#do-i-need-to-apply-for-planning-permission-to-demolish-a-building-or-structure
    2. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/when-is-permission-required#demolition-in-a-conservation-area
    3. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/when-is-permission-required#para125

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    The Planning Portal is delivered by PortalPlanQuest Limited which is a joint venture between TerraQuest Solutions Limited and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. All content © 2022 Planning Portal.