Class B – Demolition of buildings
Class B allows for the demolition of buildings. However before you start to demolish any old building you need to ensure that you can actually go ahead and whether Class B will restrict you in the demolition of buildings that have a bit more protection.
When you can’t undertake demolition of buildings
You are not allowed to demolish a building under the following circumstances:-
- Someone who has an interest in the land and has rendered the building unsafe or otherwise uninhabitable either by action or inaction and it is practicable to secure safety or health by works of repair or works for affording temporary support
- Demolition is ‘relevant demolition’ in a conservation area (see section below on Conservation area)
- Pub or a pub with expanded food as a Sui Generis Use
- Concert hall, liver performance venue or theatre
- Statue, memorial or monument that is either a listed building; a scheduled monument; within a cemetery; within the curtilage of a religious building, museum, art gallery or dwellinghouse that has been in place for at least 10 years
- Permitted development rights have been removed for Part 11 via an Article 4 or a previous planning decision
- Demolition is subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment as per Article 3 (10)
All of the exceptions above will require planning permission and are excluded from Class B – Demolition of buildings. If you have got past this then check out where you can just go ahead.
What can you demolish without further restriction?
As long as you are not in a Conservation Area (see below) you can demolish a building with a cubic content of 50 cubic metres or less (measured externally) without planning permission as it is not development (as long as it is not a statue, monument or memorial etc.). This is defined in this direction from 2021. This doesn’t mean that you can’t demolish anything larger, just that you may require planning permission or prior approval.
You can also demolish any building that is permitted via any of the options below
- Demolition that’s permitted by a listed building consent
- Demolition that’s permitted by a scheduled monument consent
- Demolition that is granted via planning permission for redevelopment of the land
- Demolition that is required by a Section 106 agreement
The demolition of walls, fences, gates and other forms of enclosure are covered under Class C unless they are in a conservation area (see below)
Note that listed building consent may be required for any demolition. Other legislation may apply and other legislation may come into force at any time.This page has been complied to the best of our knowledge. If in doubt ask.
Conservation Area – Demolition of Buildings
If the building is in a Conservation area and is one of the following you will NOT require planning permission for ‘relevant demolition’ in a conservation area. This is covered under Section 196D of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990, also Section 74 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and also The Conservation Areas (application of Section 74 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990) Direction 2015.
Once you have found that your building in the conservation area meets one of these you can skip this section.
- A listed building
- An ecclesiastical building (few exceptions via this Direction and Section 75 of the TCPA 1990)
- An Scheduled Monument
- A building not exceeding 115 cubic metres (measured externally)
- A gate, wall, fence or means of enclosure which is less than one metre high which abuts a highway (including a public footpath, bridleway), waterway or open space (Covered under Class C for areas not in a conservation area) or less than 2m in any other case
- A building erected since 1st January 1914 and last used for agriculture or forestry
- A condition of planning permission under Section 70 or Section 177 of the TCPA 1990
- Any building required to be demolished under Section 102 of the TCPA 1990
- Any building required to be demolished under Section 106 of the TCPA 1990
- A few other exemptions listed in this Direction from 2015
If the property is one of the above exceptions you can carry on to the section below. If it isn’t listed above then it is a ‘relevant demolition’ and you will need to apply for planning permission via the local authority and the demolition does not qualify for permitted development under Class B or Class C of Part 11.This is an 8 week application.
Note that this application is not required for the construction or alterations to properties within the conservation area – marley the demolition of said buildings. It maybe required for partial demolition but only where substantial demolition is required.
Note that failure to obtain planning permission is a criminal offence and cannot be regulated via a lawful development certificate.
Anything else – Demolition of buildings
If you have got this far then you will not require formal planning permission and can demolish subject to Prior Approval from the local authority. if the building is urgently necessary for health and safety then you can notify the local authority. See B.2 (a) below in the legislation.
This is a 28 day prior approval. If the local authority has not decided within that 28 day period you may go ahead subject to Listed Building Consent, Scheduled Monument Consent or other legislation.
The application must be accompanied by a written description of the proposed development, a statement that a site notice has been posted along with any fee required to be paid.
The council will either say that prior approval is not required, if so you can go ahead with the demolition of buildings or that prior approval is granted and you can still go ahead. Or that prior approval is refused. You can then either appeal the decision if you feel there is no reason to withhold or apply for planning permission.
Any permission to go ahead may still be subject to Listed Building Consent, Scheduled Monument Consent or other legislation. But in most cases you can now crack on with the demolition under Class B of Part 11 of the GPDO.
Full legislation can be found below.
Further comments on the demolition of buildings
There are a couple of case laws relevant to whether the demolition is actually an alteration. See Shimizu (UK) Limited v Westminster City Council (1997) and Barton v SSCLG  EWHC 573 (Admin).
At this time, buildings which are locally listed or non designated heritage assets are not protected from demolition under Class B or any permitted development rights as far as we are aware, under current legislation. Class B is linked to several other legislations, detailed above, and none of these give additional protection that we have found. Prior Approval may be required over a certain size, but we are not aware of any legislation that could prevent this prior approval simply because the building has been registered by the local authority.
Legislation can change and the information on this page is accurate to the best of our knowledge. It has been collated from a number of sections of legislation and notices. There may be others.
Anything on this page might be further restricted by Article 4 directions, planning conditions, listed building consent, scheduled monument consent and other legislation.
Demolition is also permitted via Class ZA in part 20 of the GPDO.
Demolition Flowchart – click to open fully
(this is a large image and therefore you might have to open in a new tab especially on a mobile device)
Class B – demolition of buildings
B. Any building operation consisting of the demolition of a building.
Development not permitted
B.1 Development is not permitted by Class B if—
(a) the building 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 and it is practicable to secure safety or health by works of repair or works for affording temporary support;
(b) the demolition is “relevant demolition” for the purposes of section 196D of the Act (demolition of an unlisted etc building in a conservation area)
(c) the building is used, or was last used, for a purpose falling within—
(i) article 3(6)(p) (drinking establishments etc.) of the Use Classes Order; or
(ii) article 3(6)(q) (drinking establishments with expanded food provision) of that Order;
(d) the building is used, or was last used, for the purpose of—
(i) a concert hall;
(ii) a venue for live music performance; or
(iii) a theatre; or
(e) the demolition relates to a statue, memorial or monument (“a commemorative structure”) in place for a period of at least 10 years on the date of any proposed demolition, other than a commemorative structure—
(i) that is a listed building;
(ii) that is a scheduled monument;
(iii) within a cemetery, on consecrated land, or within the curtilage of a place of public worship;
(iv) within the grounds of a museum or art gallery; or
(v) within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse.
B.2 Development is permitted by Class B subject to the following conditions—
(a) where demolition is urgently necessary in the interests of safety or health and the measures immediately necessary in such interests are the demolition of the building the developer must, as soon as reasonably practicable, give the local planning authority a written justification of the demolition;
(b) where the demolition does not fall within paragraph (a) and is not excluded demolition—
(i) the developer must, before beginning the development, apply to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to the method of demolition and any proposed restoration of the site;
(ii) an application described in paragraph (b)(i) must be accompanied by a written description of the proposed development, a statement that a notice has been posted in accordance with paragraph (b)(iv) and any fee required to be paid;
(iv) subject to paragraph (b)(v), the applicant must display a site notice by site display on or near the land on which the building to be demolished is sited and must leave the notice in place for not less than 21 days in the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the application was submitted to the local planning authority;
(v) where the site notice is, without any fault or intention of the applicant, removed, obscured or defaced before the period of 21 days referred to in paragraph (b)(iv) has elapsed, the applicant is treated as having complied with the requirements of that paragraph if the applicant has taken reasonable steps for protection of the notice and, if need be, its replacement;
(vii) the development must not begin before the occurrence of one of the following—
(aa) the receipt by the applicant from the local planning authority of a written notice of their determination that such prior approval is not required;
(bb) where the local planning authority give the applicant notice within 28 days following the date of receiving the application of their determination that such prior approval is required, the giving of such approval; or
(cc) the expiry of 28 days following the date on which the application was received by the local planning authority without the local planning authority making any determination as to whether such approval is required or notifying the applicant of their determination;
(viii) the development must, except to the extent that the local planning authority otherwise agree in writing, be carried out—
(aa) where prior approval is required, in accordance with the details approved;
(bb) where prior approval is not required, in accordance with the details submitted with the application;
(ix) the development must be carried out—
(aa) where approval has been given by the local planning authority, within a period of 5 years from the date on which approval was given;
(bb) in any other case, within a period of 5 years from the date on which the local planning authority were given the information referred to in paragraph (b)(ii).
Interpretation of Class B
B.3 For the purposes of Class B—
“cemetery” has the meaning given by section 214(8) of the Local Government Act 1972113;
“dwellinghouse” does not include educational accommodation;
“excluded demolition” means demolition—
(a) on land which is the subject of a planning permission, for the redevelopment of the land, granted on an application or deemed to be granted under Part 3 of the Act (control over development),
(b) permitted to be carried out by a consent under Part 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 (scheduled monument consent),
(c) permitted to be carried out by a consent under Part 1 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (listed building consent),
(d) required or permitted to be carried out by or under any other enactment, or
(e) required to be carried out by virtue of a relevant obligation;
“relevant obligation” means—
(a) an obligation arising under an agreement made under section 106 of the Act, as originally enacted (agreements regulating development or use of land);
(b) a planning obligation entered into under section 106 of the Act, as substituted by section 12 of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 (planning obligations), or under section 299A of the Act (Crown planning obligations);
(c) an obligation arising under, or under an agreement made under, any provision corresponding to section 106 of the Act, as originally enacted or as substituted by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991, or to section 299A of the Act;
“site notice” means a notice containing—
(a) the name of the applicant,
(b) a description, including the address, of the building or buildings which it is proposed to be demolished,
(c) a statement that the applicant has applied to the local planning authority for a determination as to whether the prior approval of the authority will be required as to the method of demolition and any proposed restoration of the site,
(d) the date on which the applicant proposes to carry out the demolition, and
(e) the name and address of the local planning authority,
and which is signed and dated by or on behalf of the applicant;
Demolition of buildings Page Updated: 27th April 2023