Are local authorities required to make planning applications in similar ways to private individuals/companies when making changes to city infrastructure?

Recently my local council have removed a lay-by and bus shelters from bus stops on a very busy (red-route) road which is documented as having very low air quality. The removal of bus shelters (ostensibly because sex workers and IVDUs use them - which I have never observed, compared to 5-10 people that are often waiting for a bus in them) has already made me more inclined to get in my car and drive myself rather than waiting in the rain for however long the bus takes to show up - adding to the potential pollution problem. Similarly the removal of the lay-by means that the busses (which during peak hours are probably every 4 minutes or less) completely impede the flow of traffic when the stop to allow passengers on or off worsening the pollution further.

There were no notices posted about the potential for these works, and a search of my local authority's planning portal brings up no applications related to these alterations. (It does however have active applications, for which a decision is expecting this coming Thursday for the inclusion of advertising billboards within the now removed bus shelters!). As such, local residents have not been consulted on these changes and we have not had any opportunity to lodge objections to the changes to the local transport infrastructure.

Should there have been some notification of these changes to local residents, with an opportunity to register objections? If so, what recourse do we have now, after the fact?

  • "means that the busses (which during peak hours are probably every 4 minutes or less) completely impede the flow of traffic" - actually this is far better for public transportation as busses don't have to weave in and out of traffic. Although removing bus shelters is indeed a bad idea. Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


To answer the question in your title: Yes, local authorities require planning permission.

However, the question in your question is different. Removing a bus shelter or a lay-by probably wouldn't require planning permission if it was done by Tesco's in their car park - so the local authority doesn't require it either.

There may be a requirement for consultation on such changes, but when Douglas Adams referred to

It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard'.

he was only half joking.

Finally, it is worth pointing out that the bus shelter and lay-by are "roads", so if you don't live in a unitary authority would be handled by the County Council (or equivalent), whereas Planning is the responsibility of the District/Town/City Council.

  • Thanks for the response. Where would the authority over roads lie in a metropolitan borough? Does that act more like a unitary authority, or a city/council? How would I go about finding that out?
    – Ty Hayes
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 13:44
  • From Wikipedia: "A metropolitan borough is a type of local government district in England, and is a subdivision of a metropolitan county." Roads belong to the county. Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 13:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .