Beginner’s Guide to Permitted Development

What are permitted development rights?

Many types of home renovations or building work will require planning permission. There are some forms of development which do not require planning consent. This is classed as Permitted Development. Permitted Development Rights allow you to make certain minor alterations to your property without needing planning permission.

Do I have permitted development rights?

Most properties have some permitted development rights. It is important to check what rights you have to confirm what the limitations are. Guidance on this is contained in The Town and Country Planning Order (GPDO).

What type of work can be done under permitted development?

Internal work to buildings that do not affect a buildings external appearance generally do not require planning permission. Many properties have legal rights to make external alterations such as adding extensions or dormers without the need for planning permission. This is subject to the proposals meeting the requirements of permitted development. Permitted development rights do place certain restrictions on the size and shape of the development and the materials used. In many cases these rules can allow for bigger developments and more flexibility in appearance than if a planning application were made.

How do I apply for permitted development permission?

You do not need to apply for permitted development. It is a right that you either have or you don’t have.

Will I need to pay a permitted development fee?

No. Permitted development is a right that is either granted on a property or not. It is not something that can be purchased.

Do I need a set of drawings for permitted development works?

No, although a set of drawings will still be beneficial. Often building regulations approval is still needed so a set of accurate plans or drawings can be used to submit a full plans application. Drawings can also be used to obtain estimates for your project and for your builders reference whilst undertaking the construction work.

What is a Lawful Development Certificate?

A Lawful Development Certificate provides proof that your building work has been carried out lawfully. Sometimes it can be difficult to determine if proposed improvements or renovation work falls under permitted development or if a planning application is required. Problems can arise if you undertake work on a property without planning permission then come to sell it at a later date. The works may fall within the properties permitted development rights but this is not always clear. In these cases you can apply for a lawful development certificate. Your proposals will be assessed and a decision will be made to determine if the work does require planning permission. If planning permission is not required then a Lawful Development Certificate will be issued to you.

Why would I need a lawful development certificate?

You may wish to apply for a lawful development certificate if you have been unable to determine if you have permitted development rights. It may be difficult to demonstrate that a house extension or other development is lawful without a certificate. A lawful development certificate can prevent this problem when selling your home.

Will I need to pay a fee for a lawful development certificate?

Yes, a fee will be required. You can apply for a lawful development certificate from your local council using the planning portal’s online application service.

Haven’t permitted development rights been relaxed recently?

Yes they have. In 2013 the government announced that permitted development rules will be relaxed for extensions for a three year trial period, starting from 30 May 2013 and ending on the 30 May 2016. This has since been extended to 30 May 2019. This means that the limit for single storey rear extensions will be 8m for a detached house and 6m for a semi or terraced house; doubling the permitted amount previously allowed.

If you wish to take advantage of these new permitted development rights then you will need to notify your adjoining neighbour as required under the new neighbour consultation scheme. You will be required to notify your local planning authority providing details of your proposed extension. Your local authority will then serve a notice on your adjoining neighbour who will have 21 days to object to your proposals. If there are no objections your extension can go ahead. If your adjoining neighbour raises an objection with the 21 day period then the local authority will make the final decision on whether your extension can go ahead. There will be no local authority fee for this service.

For more details on the new rules see the Planning Portal’s current guidance on Extensions.

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