Have you heard that you can do some work to your home without needing planning permission? Ever wondered how your neighbours on the street built a really large roof extension without you ever being consulted by the council? Confused as to what you can and can’t do without planning permission?
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, then this article will help you to navigate your way around the minefield that is permitted development. As this is such a vast topic, we are going to focus on changes that can be done under permitted development by householders.
So, Lets Start With Understanding What Is Permitted Development?
The UK government devised a set of regulations known as permitted development (PD) that allow for the execution of some types of development without the requirement of a planning application.
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 lays out these regulations and permits for the construction of some types of building work, such as extensions, loft conversions, and conservatories, without the requirement to obtain planning permission.
Permitted development has been around for a very long time and covers a raft of possible changes that you can do to your home. Fundamentally, it takes away the decision process for getting planning away from local councils, principally in the context of homeowners it is designed to simplify the planning process to allow for development without permission for standard things, thus reducing the time that local authorities deal with this type of development.
That said, the legislation has been altered over the years and is in place open to interpretation so you can fall foul of permitted development as there are lots of nuances that need to be adhered to.
Specific restrictions and requirements, including the size and location of the development and whether the property is in a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty, apply to permitted development rights.
For residential properties, for instance, the maximum addition size that can be developed under PD rights is 6 metres for detached homes, 4 metres for semi-detached homes, and 3 metres for terraced homes.
Do I Automatically Have Permitted Development Rights?
The answer to this is not straightforward! In most instances a house will have permitted development rights although there are instances where councils may have removed permitted development rights when the scheme was originally approved so that the council could control any future development to a home.
Removal of permitted development rights was common in the 60s and 70s although we have seen instances in recent years where approval notices for estates prohibit any future development under permitted development.
To establish if you have permitted development rights intact in this instance it is worth obtaining a copy of the approval for the house as it was originally built if that is possible. Your local council will have a copy in most instances within their archive records and you may have to pay for this if you do not have from your pack of paperwork when you bought the house.
We have had instances when customers were not even aware that their permitted development rights were removed in the 1960 approval notice – and this has only come to light when an application for permitted development is made.
There are also many other instances when the council may have removed permitted development rights; these are normally known as Article 4 Directives.
These can enforced if a council wants to control an area in planning terms so prohibits householders from undertaking work without getting planning permission. Article 4s apply in some conservation areas. Or in some local authorities like Hillingdon, they have a blanket article 4 against deeper rear extensions.
If you are an owner of a flat, you will also need full planning permission as flats do not benefit from permitted development rights.
Assuming I have permitted development rights, what work can I do under permitted development?
The extent of work that falls under permitted development is varied. The list below are some options although this is not comprehensive:
- Building an extension or conservatory to a house
- Converting a loft or garage
- Adding dormer windows or roof lights
- Building a porch
- Putting up a fence, wall, or gate
- Making internal alterations
- Erecting a two storey rear extension
- Installing an air source heat pump
In all examples, there are limits that are outlined in the legislation that denote the criteria which need to be followed to meet compliance under permitted development. These can stipulate heights and depths and relationships to the boundary.
It is important that care is taken to meet compliance as if not you risk being foul of planning and enforcement action being taken. A creative approach towards permitted development can often render great results both spatially and aesthetically and it is worth establishing what you can do and the limitations for each aspect.
If Permitted Development Rights Exist, Why And When Would I Need Planning Permission?
Sometimes you may be looking to undertake an extension that would not meet criteria of permitted development. A common example of this is when you wish to do a side and rear single storey extension so that you have a L shaped addition.
Alternatively, two storey extensions to the side or if you want to use different external materials to the existing house then you would need full planning permission.
Local authorities decide whether to grant a request for planning permission based on several factors, such as whether the development is in line with the local area’s development plan, whether it will have a negative impact on the neighbourhood or its residents, and whether it complies with national and local planning policies.
Many local authorities will have a special set of guidance specifically for extensions and it is worth being aware that where this can be prescriptive it can be contradictory to permitted development legislation as councils wish to control the visual aesthetic of works being undertaken.
The best way to establish which route to take forward is by discussing what you are looking to achieve in terms of space with an architect and then for a design to be developed to suit the relative planning strategy.
To be sure you are meeting compliance with permitted development it is advisable to apply for a certificate of lawfulness. This is a certificate that confirms that the work being proposed is in accordance with the legislation at the time and can be useful if you look to sell the property.
If the works are within the remits of full planning, you will need to apply for full householder planning permission. Ideally works should not commence until the approval is in place.
In conclusion, permitted development is a set of regulations that permits some types of development to be carried out without the need for a planning application, whereas planning permission is a formal process that must be followed in order to carry out some types of development that are not covered by permitted development and are subject to certain restrictions and conditions.
It is important to note that the planning process can be complex, time-consuming, and costly. It is therefore advisable to seek professional advice from a planning consultant or architect before submitting a planning application.
Additionally, the time frame for the process can vary depending on the complexity of the proposal and the resources available at the local authority.