Guide to permitted development rules

permitted development rulesBuilding a new house or renovating an existing house requires one to apply for planning permission. However, UK Government permits making certain minor changes to an existing house without having to apply for planning permission. These minor changes or development are listed under the permitted development rules. Unlike planning permission that is granted by local authorities, the permitted development rules are granted by the parliament.

What is permitted development?

Permitted development is an implicit consent to carry out certain types of development without planning permission. It is granted in the form of General Development Planning Orders (GDPOs). The GDPOs apply separately to Scotland, Wales and England. It is also important to note that Permitted Development rights that apply to houses do not necessarily apply to flats or other buildings.

Where do permitted development rules apply?

Permitted development rights also vary from area to area, more specifically areas that are specially designated as conservatories, reserves, national park etc. For such areas, planning permission is required even for the types of development that are exempted by permitted development in other areas.

Sometimes even the local planning authorities can request for and change the PD rights that apply to a given area. This is done keeping in mind the preservation of the character of an area that has significant importance. It is advised to consult local planning authorities and discuss development proposal to be sure which Permitted Development for householders apply and which do not.

Also, houses that have changed use from housing to office spaces, shops, professional service premises etc. cannot be altered or improved using the householder permitted development rules. They will require planning permission from local authorities.

Permitted development extensions:

Permitted Development rules allow development under the following conditions :

  • The material used for extensions must be similar in appearance to the exteriors of the existing dwelling
  • Windows located in upper floor – either the walls or roof slope, that form a side elevation must be glazed and non-opening. Windows can be open if they are 1.7 meters above the floor of the room in which they are installed.
  • If the extended part has more than a single storey, the roof top of the extension should be the same as roof top of original dwelling house.

Development not permitted:

There are many conditions under which the development is not permitted. Some of the prominent ones are –

  • If the permission to use the house as dwelling has been granted under ‘change of use’.
  • The total area of ground covered due to the development within the curtilage of the dwelling (excluding the original dwelling) would exceed 50% of the total area of curtilage.
  • The height of the dwelling house extended will exceed the height of the highest part of the original dwelling.
  • The extension exceeds beyond a wall that either forms the principal elevation of the original house or forms a side elevation that faces a highway.
  • The extension would exceed beyond the side elevation wall and be higher than 4 meters or have more than a single storey or have a width more than half of the width of the original dwelling.

Information to be furnished:

Before beginning the development, the developer needs to furnish the following information to the local planning authorities so that they can verify that Permitted Development rules apply.

  1. Written description of the proposed development that should include the following details
  • How far the extended part of the dwelling stretch beyond the rear wall of the original dwelling
  • What would be the maximum height of the extension be
  • What will be the height of the eaves of the extended part of the dwelling
  1. A plan that indicates the site with the current layout and highlights the proposed development.
  2. The address and descriptions of the adjoining premises and buildings.
  3. Contact details of the developer which includes their address.
  4. Email address of the developer if they agree to receiving communications through email.

Based on the information provided, the planning authorities can either accept or refuse the application. They then issue a receipt with a written notice that either prior approval is not required or prior approval has been granted. Only post this the developer can proceed with the development.

Permitted Development rules are very helpful but come with many restrictions. Hence it is advisable to contact the local planning authorities and discuss with them before benefiting from them.

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