Do I Need Planning Permission?

To help us decide if your householder development proposal requires planning permission please download and complete our Domestic Development Enquiry Form (PDF) (Word). If your development proposal is for a commercial development (non-domestic) please download and complete our Development Enquiry form (PDF) (Word).  If your proposal is for a business to be run from your home address complete our Do I Need Permission to Operate a Small Business from my Home? form (PDF) (Word). Answer as many of the questions as required, where relevant, please provide a sketch of the proposed development. If possible please provide photographs of the site as well.

There is a charge for this service, please refer to our scale of fees (scale of fees from 01 April 2021)for the current charge.

Return completed forms via email to or post to Development Management, Environmental Services, The Moray Council, High Street, Elgin, IV30 1BX.

Once we have received your form and fee, we will acknowledge it and inform you of the Planning Officer dealing with your enquiry. If you have any queries throughout the process, these should be directed to your Planning Officer.

Once your Planning Officer has determined whether or not planning permission is or is not required, you will receive a written response. In most instances, this response will be issued within 28 days of receipt, however on some occasions more information may be required which may delay the response time.

IMPORTANT: Please note that even if you do not require planning permission, a Building Warrant may be required. Building Warrants are also sometimes required alongside Planning Permission. Read more on our Building Standards section.

Changes to Legislation

In 2012 changes were made to the legislation which states what alterations and extensions can be made to a house without planning permission in Scotland (Permitted Development) through The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011. For the first time, the legislation also allows for limited alterations to flats.

The Main Changes

  • The introduction of:
    • a ‘principal elevation’ – most development forward of this will require planning permission
    • permitted development rights for the installation of access ramps, porches and decking in certain circumstances
    • a one metre ‘bubble’ which allows for alterations such as satellite dishes to be added to a house without planning permission
  • A more generous allowance for extensions and alterations in certain circumstances
  • The allowance of necessary alterations to the roof when extending a house through permitted development
  • The requirement for hard surfaces to be porous, otherwise hard surfaces must drain to a permeable or porous area within the curtilage of the house


This is a brief overview of the changes, which are designed to give householders more freedom when making alterations to their homes, it is not exhaustive. 

Apart from the legislation itself, The Scottish Government has its own microsite with a number of resources to help assess if planning permission is required.

Duty Officer

As of 01 April 2019, a Planning Officer is available on telephone 0300 1234561 to provide general guidance and advice on planning matters from 2pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday. There is no fee for this service.

There is also a Building Standards Officer available between 2pm and 4pm to give general guidance and advice on Building Standards matters.

Contact Us

Development Management
Economic Growth & Development
The Moray Council
PO Box 6760, Elgin
IV30 9BX

0300 1234561

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