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What is Permitted Development?

What is Permitted Development?

Dreading endless forms and lengthy delays? Permitted development might be your golden ticket! This UK planning perk allows you to complete certain home improvement projects without the need for a full planning application.

Whether you’re dreaming of a sleek extension or a practical renovation, understanding permitted development rights can save you time, money, and frustration. Let’s dive in and explore the possibilities for a smoother and less stressful building journey!

The Allure of Permitted Development

  • Faster and Simpler Process: Compared to the potentially lengthy and complex full planning application process, PD offers a streamlined approach. This can save you time, money, and frustration.
  • Cost-Effective: Avoiding planning application fees, environmental impact assessments, and public consultations associated with full planning applications can lead to significant cost savings.
  • Flexibility for Minor Works: PD allows for a range of improvements without extensive bureaucracy. This could be anything from building a porch or replacing windows to adding a roof extension or converting a loft, depending on specific limitations.

Understanding PD Limitations: Not a Free Pass

While PD offers advantages, it’s crucial to understand its limitations to avoid costly mistakes:

  • Size and Scale Restrictions: PD allowances have limitations on the size, height, and footprint of extensions and alterations. Exceeding these limits will likely necessitate a full planning application.
  • Location Matters: The location of your planned works can significantly impact PD eligibility. Extensions built beyond a specific building line or alterations affecting the character of a conservation area typically require full planning permission.
  • Prioritize Neighbourly Relations: While PD doesn’t necessarily require public consultation, it’s good practice to keep your neighbours informed about your project to avoid potential disputes.

When is Full Planning Permission Necessary?

If your project doesn’t meet the following criteria, you’ll likely need to apply for full planning permission:

  • Size and Scale: Extensions exceeding a specific percentage of the original dwelling’s floor area or a set maximum cubic meterage typically require full planning permission.
  • Significant Impact: Projects that significantly alter the character of the surrounding area or involve substantial demolition work will likely require full planning permission.
  • Listed Buildings: Any alterations or extensions to listed buildings (buildings of historical or architectural importance) almost always require full planning permission.

When Can Permitted Development Be Your Ally?

Here are some scenarios where PD can be a valuable tool for your home improvement project:

  • Small Extensions: Adding a conservatory, a single-storey rear extension, or a dormer window within permitted development allowances can be a great way to gain extra space.
  • Loft Conversions: Converting your loft into a habitable room, following PD size and height restrictions, can be a cost-effective way to add valuable living space.
  • Internal Alterations: Most internal alterations, such as knocking down walls or installing a new kitchen, don’t require planning permission, although building regulations might still apply.

Why Applying for a Certificate of Lawfulness is Crucial, Even for Permitted Developments

Most home owners have heard about Permitted Development. But what is it? How can it help you?

Its an Act of Parliament giving home owners the right to do minor or straight forward things to their home without any required permissions or approvals.

For example you can add a 3m rear extension to your semi detached property. No planning required. You can just do it.

But should you just do it?

We suggest not. There are two reasons why not to just do it.

Reason 1

– your neighbour will check on line, its very easy to do this. They will see you do not have Planning Permission. They may contact the council. The Council have a duty then to contact your via the Enforcement Team. They do not know if what you are or have built is Permitted Development and therefore Lawful. You may have to submit an application. If your builder has built the extension 50mm to high it will not be permitted development. You can see the issue. The biggest risk is large loft dormers. The council do not like these types of extensions. It is quite difficult to amend these extensions once built and puts you in a difficult position as the council may not give Planning Approval if it is deemed not to be Permitted Development.

Reason 2 –

When you come to sell your home, your solicitor will give you a form which asks have you made any changes to the house. If yes, then you have to tick a box for a Planning Approval or the other for Certificate of Lawfulness. If you submit to the council your Permitted Development Application they issue a Certificate of Lawfulness. You can see if you do not have either of these documents your again in a situation where no one knows if its Lawful. Even if its been there for more that 4 years you may still need to apply to the Certificate of Lawfulness and prove its existed for more than 4 years.

Our advice is if you want to build via Permitted Development, then get your Architect to submit to the council and get a Certificate of Lawfulness before starting on site.

Planning Portal for the Permitted Development Rules

Do Your Research: Before You Start Building

Before embarking on any project under PD, it’s crucial to do your research. Here are some essential steps:

  • Check Your Local Council Website: Local authorities might have additional guidance or restrictions related to PD in your area. These could be specific design considerations or limitations on the types of projects allowed under PD.
  • Consult the Government Planning Portal: The government’s planning portal offers a wealth of information on permitted development rights, downloadable guidance documents, and an interactive tool to help you check if your project qualifies for PD.
  • Consider Consulting a Professional: An architect or architectural technologist can advise you on whether your project falls within PD allowances and guide you through the process if needed.

Permitted development sounds great, but don’t skip the Certificate of Lawfulness! Avoid future headaches with neighbours, council enforcements, and selling your home. Get peace of mind with a simple application.

PD – A Tool, Not a Shortcut

Permitted development can be a valuable tool for homeowners in England, allowing for faster and more cost-effective home improvements. However, it’s not a shortcut. Understanding its limitations, adhering to regulations, and prioritizing good neighbourly relations are crucial for a successful PD project. So, do your research, plan carefully, and enjoy transforming your home!


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