It’s no secret that planning permission can sometimes be a lengthy process. It’s one of the first hurdles most construction projects have to pass and is usually required if you are building something entirely new, making changes to your current building (such as extensions) or changing the use of a building.
Whilst homeowner planning applications are often easier than permitted development if you have multiple extensions – Permitted Development Rights can be exceptionally useful for certain projects. So what exactly are Permitted Development Rights, and what sort of work is allowed under them?
These issues can get quite complicated quite quickly, so do book a call with us today to see what can be achieved for your property.
What are permitted development rights?
In August 2020, the UK Government announced updates to the Permitted Development Rights housing scheme. This allowed homeowners in England to improve and extend their properties (within certain, specific guidelines!) without the need to apply for full planning permission.
The Permitted Development Rights (PDR) scheme is designed to make it easier for home improvement plans to be accepted by local authorities. The government has argued that it encourages more renovations and reduces bureaucracy.
In the advent of lockdown measures, unprecedented numbers of homeowners are looking to renovate and make home improvements. So this is certainly a useful scheme! Adapting your building proposals in line with PDR can save you time and money – but only in certain circumstances.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at planning permission and permitted development rights (including exclusions) in more detail…
Applying for planning permission
In a study by the Homeowners Alliance, at least 25% of homeowners said they had encountered issues with planning permission applications and regarded planning permission as an obstacle to home renovation.
Indeed, there are several common issues faced by homeowners – but there are also things you can do to mitigate problems such as timescales, costs and refusals. We’ve already written on this subject. So if you’re going down the planning permission route, take a look at our blog on the most common problems for UK planning applications and how to avoid them.
Providing your project plans meet detailed Permitted development requirements (we’ll come onto this in the next section!), you might be able to bypass standard planning permission – and potentially save time and money.
Although the scheme is continually expanding, PDR only covers certain proposals within specific sized renovations and properties…
What’s allowed under Permitted Development Rights?
Since Permitted Development Rights were first introduced in 2015, the scheme has expanded to cover a range of small extensions, loft conversions, garage renovations, basements, porches, as well as internal additions such as solar panel installation, new doors and windows.
While we always recommend you check your specific proposals with planning experts, architects and your local council, here’s a brief guide to what you can expect from the most common PDR guidelines:
- Extensions cannot be built higher than the highest part of the existing roof.
- The extension can cover a maximum area of half the land around the original property.
- Extensions must only be built to the side or rear of the property (rather than forward-facing).
- The work cannot include cladding to the exterior.
- The work must not make any alteration to the roof of the existing property.
Single storey extensions
- Single-story rear extensions should not exceed 4 metres in height.
- Extensions in detached houses cannot be built beyond 4 metres to the rear of the original property.
- For other types of property, the extension limit is 3 metres.
- Building works must be internal. Proposed garages cannot enlarge the size of the original property.
- Projects must use building materials similar to the existing house.
- Garage side extensions will need full planning permission.
Additional storeys and loft conversions
In the latest addition to the Permitted Development Rights scheme, you can construct up to two additional storeys to your property depending on how many storeys you already have. For example, if your house already has a first and second floor, you can add up to another two floors – which could include a loft conversion.
This can be a tricky area, so expert advice is required – but some of the important guidelines state:
- Conversions of more than one storey should not extend beyond the rear wall of the original property by more than 3 metres.
- Each added storey cannot add more than 3.5 metres to the total height.
- Roof alteration is sometimes accepted, although roof pitch must remain the same.
Internal property improvements
- Solar panel installation to your roof is covered by the scheme. Usually any alterations to your roof or cladding would have to go through planning permission.
- New windows and doors (including frames), are covered as they are deemed minor home improvements
- Balconies are not permitted under the PDR scheme.
More information and detailed advice on how to comply with Permitted Development Rights can be found online. You can and should also ask your architect and local council for their opinions and advice. Architects are the true experts on construction plans, working consistently with clients to ensure these pass local planning regulations or permitted development rights.
Properties excluded from Permitted Development
It’s important to remember that not all homes are automatically eligible under the Permitted Development scheme!
If your home isn’t eligible, don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you can’t build your ideal project. It just means you may have to alter your plan to meet PDR or go through planning permission.
PDR rights do not apply to the following properties:
- Buildings built before 1 July 1948 or after 28 October 2018.
- Properties that have already undergone significant redevelopment, extension or renovation.
- Properties that are located within conservation areas, national parks, world heritage sites, SSSIs or areas of outstanding natural beauty.
- Grade-listed buildings are also excluded.
Do I have to pay any fees?
Last but not least, a common question for homeowners are the fees involved. The good news is that you are exempt from paying a fee as long as your proposals are in line with Permitted Development Rights.
If you are seeking prior approval for Permitted Development (and this is recommended in most circumstances), it will cost you in the region of £100. Most homeowners will hire professional surveyors and architects for their project, who will charge their own fees for work.
With this initial guide to Permitted Development Rights for homeowners – you should have an indication of whether your project might fall under PDR or full planning permission. If you are ever unsure, talk with your architect and local planning officials, who will be able to advise.
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