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What is permitted development?

Last month we talked a lot about process of obtaining planning permission for work carried out on residential property. However, although planning permission is a hard and fast procedure for those carrying out work that falls within the planning portal’s guidelines – for some minor works, you may find that you don’t need it. These bits of work fall under what’s referred to as your ‘permitted development rights’ — which now cover extensions to the side and rear of residential houses.

Your permitted development rights are dependent on your property, its location and the nature of the work to be carried out. In this article, we’ll outline the specific guidelines relating to your right to undertake work on your property without planning permission.

What are my permitted development rights?

First and foremost, permitted development rights only exist to owners of houses – flats and listed buildings are excluded from these rights. It’s impossible to say whether you have permitted development rights to undertake construction work on your property without knowing you and your property’s background. Factors that may affect your rights include:

– Allowance: generally speaking, most people have the allowance to use their permitted development rights – but the right to build an extension only exists once depending on size (for obvious reasons)

– Article 4 direction: in some cases, permitted development rights may have been removed or restricted on your property by the local planning department – ideally you should check this before you buy any property

If you’re unsure, you should apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC), which is a formal application for your local authority to review the case and clarify whether the proposed work falls under permitted development or not.

Location, location, location

First of all, in the UK, your permitted development rights are dependent on where in the country your property lies. The government Planning Portal outlines that if you live in a Conservation Area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads then you are more likely to need to apply for planning permission even for minor pieces of work.

In most areas of the country that are more urban, built-up, or are less sensitive to the impact of construction work, you can often get away with escaping planning permission.

What kind of things can I do under permitted development exactly?

Although the rules for planning permission are strict, and you should always check whether it is required before going ahead with any construction work on your property, you may be surprised by how much you can actually do under your permitted development rights.

In most areas of the UK (excluding those specified above), this includes:

– Building an extension: at present, you can extend your property by up to four meters at the rear with a single-storey extension, or three meters for a two storey extension

– Building a loft conversion: it is possible to convert your loft into living space without planning permission but you must observe certain restrictions. Firstly, the amount of space allowed to be converted is restricted. Secondly, you can add roof windows but only providing they don’t extend beyond the plane of the roof slope, and any side-facing windows you add must be obscure-glazed and non-opening.

– Building a porch: you can add a porch to the front of your house providing that it’s size does not exceed three metres squared and that no part of it extends within two meters of the property’s boundaries.

– Building a shed: you can add a shed to your garden so long as it does not exceed more than half of the overall area of your garden and it is single storey. There is also height restrictions applied to outbuildings and you must not build any raised platforms, verandas or balconies onto your shed.

– Adding windows and doors: in most cases, windows (including bay windows, which are classified as an extension) and doors can be added to the property under permitted development. Building Regulations may need to be considered.

Over to you

If you want to undertake construction work on your property, Aldrock Surveyors can help. Our expert team of design, planning and building specialists can help you to develop your plans and identify what approval is needed before any work is undertaken. For more information about how we can help you, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Building surveyors surveying a house
  • 10th September 2014