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Are you worried you’ll have to compromise your dreams to gain planning permission?

It’s a common misconception that every project will require some type of planning permission. This can often deter people from progressing with their home aspirations. It’s true with many larger projects but there’s a lot you can do within your Permitted Development Rights.

Are you keen to improve your home but the time and cost implications of gaining planning have put you off? It’s definitely worthwhile checking if the work can be carried out under Permitted Development first.

Permitted Development: What Does it Mean?

Permitted Development allows you to carry out certain improvements to your home without planning permission. Improvements can take on many forms but there are some limitations. Especially if your home has been extended in the past.

With a little help from an architect who understands the regulations, you could add meaningful value to your house or transform it to perfectly match your lifestyle.

What do I need to consider?

In some areas of the country, permitted development is more restricted.

For example, if you live in a:

  • Conservation area
  • National Park
  • Listed building

you are more likely to need to apply for full planning permission for your project.

You should also bear in mind that permitted development rights do not usually apply to flats, maisonettes or other non-domestic buildings. For these cases, a full planning application will be needed.

What can I do without planning permission?

The Permitted Development rules can be difficult to understand. They can also be open to interpretation, so it always pays to employ an architect to help you maximise the potential of your project.

Some examples of what you can do are:

  • Extensions can have an area of up to 50% of your plot, excluding the original house (as it stood in 1947).
  • You can add a single storey (up to 4m high and half the width of the house) to the front or side of your home, if each does not face a road.
  • You can extend to the rear of your house (up to the original height and 3m depth) for multiple storeys, or up to 4m high and deep for a single storey.
  • Your extension needs to be at least 7m from the boundary at the back, and 2m from any other boundary.
  • In a protected area (e.g. Conservation Area), you can extend up to one storey, but cannot build beyond the side of the original building.
  • You can add to or change the side and back of your roof, adding up to 50m3. A veranda, balcony or raised platform falls outside PD.
  • If your house isn’t listed, you can build any independent structure on your plot under PD. It must not be another house or have multiple storeys.
    Check out our previous blog about garden rooms and outbuildings.

This list is by no means exhaustive and each project will lead to a unique set of possibilities.

An example of a Permitted Development project

An example of a Permitted Development project (we wouldn’t recommend!)

What happens when I come to sell?

If you’re planning to sell your property after completing a Permitted Development project then a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’ (LDC) may be helpful to potential buyers.

You can apply for an LDC from your local council. It will confirm your home is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission.

You can obtain an LDC before, during or after the work has been done. To save yourself a headache we always advise applying for one before any work starts.

Is there anything I need to watch out for?

As with many elements of planning permission, Permitted Development is a complex area to understand. It’s easy for homeowners to unwittingly break the law with their projects. Employing a good architect will help you to avoid falling foul of your local planners.

The materials you use for the exterior of your project will need to look ‘similar’ to your existing house. This is another area which is open to interpretation, so your local authority may have preferred materials in their planning guidance.

Your local planning authority can also issue an ‘Article 4 directive’. This restricts the scope of permitted development rights in certain areas. It can limit a particular type of development, or more commonly, a particular area, for instance, a conservation area or listed building. You will probably know if your property is affected, but you can check with the local planning authority if you’re unsure.

Before starting any project it’s always worth consulting with an architect to achieve the best quality and value for your project. As well as avoiding mistakes!

We recently launched our new Project Preparation Service for this very reason. It’s specifically designed to help you make the important decisions needed before you begin transforming your home.

If you liked this blog, why not check out the teams’ favourite projects with permitted development, and subscribe to our newsletter for regular news and advice.