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Homeowners seeking to improve or expand their properties without the hassle of extensive planning permissions now have a convenient solution – permitted development rights. These rights allow certain home renovations and extensions to be undertaken without needing full planning approval, streamlining the process and saving time and costs. From loft conversions and rear extensions to outbuildings and garage conversions, what is permitted development covers a range of popular home improvement projects.

The rules governing permitted development rights in England are outlined in the Town and Country Planning Order 2015, with Part 1 detailing the specific criteria homeowners must meet to qualify. Key factors include limits on extension size, height, and placement, as well as exclusions for flats, listed buildings, and conservation areas. By understanding these permitted development rights, homeowners can embark on their desired renovations with confidence and efficiency.


Permitted development rights allow homeowners to extend and improve their properties without the need for full planning permission, as long as the impact remains proportionate. Extensions are a popular project covered under these rights, with specific guidelines governing their size, placement, and design.

Additionally, the total area of ground covered by buildings within the curtilage (excluding the original house) must not exceed 50% of the total curtilage area. Enlargement of the roof, such as dormers, is also permitted, subject to specific limits on width, distance from the edge of the roof plane, and height.

Loft conversions</secondary keyword> and what is permitted development</secondary keyword> are also covered under these rights, allowing homeowners to maximize their living space without the need for extensive planning approvals.

Roof Alterations

Homeowners looking to make alterations to their roofs can take advantage of permitted development rights, which allow certain modifications without the need for full planning permission. However, these rights come with specific limits and conditions:

  • The proposed roof alteration must not project more than 150 millimetres from the plane of the existing roof slope. This restriction ensures that the alteration does not significantly alter the overall appearance of the roof.
  • The height of the altered roof must not exceed the height of the existing roof. This maintains the original roofline and prevents any excessive vertical expansion.
  • Any side-facing windows introduced as part of the roof alteration must be obscure-glazed and positioned at least 1.7 metres above the floor level. This requirement helps preserve privacy for both the homeowner and their neighbours.

Common roof alterations covered under permitted development rights include:

  • Re-roofing: Replacing the existing roof covering with new materials, such as tiles or slates.
  • Inserting skylights or roof windows: Adding natural light and ventilation to the interior spaces.
  • Installing solar panels: Incorporating renewable energy sources onto the roof.

It’s important to note that these permitted development rights may not apply in certain areas, such as conservation areas or listed buildings, where additional planning permissions may be required. Homeowners should always consult with their local planning authority to ensure compliance with the specific regulations in their area.


Homeowners seeking to enhance their outdoor spaces or create additional functional areas can take advantage of permitted development rights for outbuildings. These rights allow the construction of certain ancillary structures without the need for full planning permission, provided specific conditions are met:

It’s important to note that [permitted development rights may have been removed by Article 4 directions, so homeowners should check with their local planning authority]. Additionally, [outbuildings may be exempt from building regulations depending on their size, use, and location], and [the guidance relates to the planning regime in England, and the policy may differ in Wales].

Permitted development outbuildings offer homeowners a range of benefits, including [providing an escape from the housemaximizing garden potential, and adding value to the home]. These structures can serve various purposes, such as [garden sheds, swimming pools, hot tub enclosures, offices, greenhouses, garages, saunas, and summer rooms]. However, [building an annex to the property would require full planning permission, not permitted development].

Upward Extensions

The landmark court case, CAB Housing Ltd v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities EWHC 208 (Admin), provided the first legal interpretation of how conditions are considered when using permitted development rights for upward extensions. The court upheld that planning inspectors can consider the wider impact on the surrounding street scene and environment, even though the GPDO may not explicitly require this. The court clarified that:

  • ‘adjoining premises’ is not restricted to just the neighboring properties immediately next door
  • ‘impact on amenity’ is not limited to just overlooking, privacy and loss of light
  • ‘external appearance’ should be considered in the context of the surrounding area, not just in isolation

Since the introduction of these permitted development rights in August 2020, there has been an increased appetite for upward extensions, but the approval rates have been mixed, ranging from 21% to 63%. On appeal, around 60% of refused prior approvals have been overturned by the Planning Inspectorate, indicating the impact on appearance and the wider character of the area as consistent issues.

The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development and Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 introduced a new Class A into the GPDO, granting the right to extend purpose-built blocks of flats upwards by two additional storeys. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020 introduced four new permitted development rights, Classes AA-AD, which allow the construction of one or two additional storeys, consisting of new flats, on top of the highest existing storey of certain buildings. These new rights are subject to prior approval from the local planning authority, with matters to be considered including:

  • Highways impacts
  • Neighbor and occupier amenity
  • External appearance
  • Natural light
  • Noise from existing commercial premises
  • Air traffic and defense assets
  • Protected vistas in London

The development must be completed within a period of three years starting with the date ‘prior approval’ is granted.

Permitted development rights</primary keyword> also allow upward extensions for existing detached, semi-detached, or terraced houses built after 1 July 1948 and before 28 October 2018, subject to prior approval:

  • Detached houses can be extended by up to 2 additional storeys if the existing house is 2 storeys or more, or 1 additional storey if the existing house is 1 storey.
  • Terraced/semi-detached houses can be extended by up to 2 additional storeys if the existing house is 2 storeys or more, or 1 additional storey if the existing house is 1 storey.

The new rights also permit the construction of new self-contained homes by adding additional storeys on top of existing buildings, subject to prior approval.


Permitted development rights offer a transformative opportunity for homeowners seeking to maximize their living spaces and enhance their properties’ functionality without the complexities of full planning permissions. These rights encompass a wide array of renovations, from extensions and loft conversions to outbuildings and upward expansions, empowering homeowners to unlock new possibilities within their existing dwellings.

While these rights streamline the process, homeowners must remain mindful of the specific regulations and limitations outlined by their local authorities. Consulting with professionals and adhering to the guidelines are crucial to ensure compliance and seamless execution of their desired projects. To explore how these rights can revolutionize your home, book a call with our experts to discuss your vision and embark on a journey of unlocking your property’s full potential.


1. What are the updated regulations for permitted development in home extensions?
The latest permitted development regulations specify that if an extension is near the boundary of the plot (within 2 meters), the maximum height of the eaves can be up to three meters. For single-storey rear extensions, terraced houses can extend up to 3 meters from the original property, while detached houses can extend up to 4 meters.

2. Can you explain the 4-year rule in town planning for 2024?
The 4-year rule in town planning by 2024 permits property owners to gain immunity from enforcement actions for unauthorized residential developments if such developments have been in existence for at least four years without any planning enforcement action from the local authorities.

3. Under what circumstances can a homeowner lose their permitted development rights?
A homeowner’s permitted development rights may be removed if, when the original planning permission was granted for building or extending the house, the council imposed a condition that withdraws these rights. This means that the homeowner would need to seek planning permission for even minor extensions or alterations.

4. What does the 50% rule entail in permitted development?
In the context of permitted development, the 50% rule states that the total area of extensions (including previous extensions under Class A or separate planning permissions) and other buildings must not exceed 50% of the total curtilage of the house. This limit includes all existing and proposed outbuildings, as well as any new or existing extensions.


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Post Author: Gordon evans