Do you need planning permission?

This guide will help you to maximise the potential of your home, enabling you to enjoy a different space in the same place...

If you are looking to carry out alterations to your existing home or to a new home you intend to buy, it is a good idea to have an understanding of the available Permitted Development (PD) rights.

They are granted in the form of General Development Planning Orders (GDPOs) which apply separately to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They give implicit planning consent to carry out particular classes of development.

Works carried out under PD must stringently conform to the current criteria and it is sensible to check with your local authority before commencing works or have a qualified surveyor confirm that all is in order.

Many local authorities offer a consultancy service for a small fee and will confirm in writing whether or not a planning application is needed. This can be very helpful when it comes to reselling your property within the first four years of completion.

My home benefits from PD rights, how far can I extend?

The rules state that the ‘original’ (as it stood in or prior to 1948) rear wall of a detached property can be extended by up to 4m in depth with a single storey extension ; this is reduced to 3m if you reside in a semi or terrace home. Should you proposed extension be within 2m of the boundary, then the eaves height would be limited to 3m under PD.

If you are looking to build a two storey extension (no higher than the house), this can project up to 3m from the original rear wall, as long as it is at least 7m from the rear boundary. It is important to be aware that no extension can project beyond or be added to what is deemed to be the front of the house or an elevation which affronts the highway and a side extension cannot make up more than half of your property’s width. With the exclusion of conservatories, new extensions must be built with materials of ‘similar appearance’ and with the same roof pitch as the main house. Whilst PD rights are advantageous, there is a lot to take into account before commencing works.

Is there anything else I can do under my PD rights?

In the past volume limitations were applied to the complete property, so if you extended, it would have been doubtful that you would have been able to convert your loft area under PD rights also. The latter has now been separated out, permitting you to undertake both without one inhibiting the other. You can also now convert your loft area into a bedroom or extra living space by up to 50m³ in a detached property, or by 40m³ within any other home. Flush roof lights or those which do not project further than 150mm are permitted but you would need permission to add a dormer window on any roof elevation which faces the highway.

Permitted Improvements:

  • * Build a porch.
  • * out internal alterations.
  • * Convert and occupy the roof space.
  • * Install micro generation equipment, such as solar panels (apart from wind turbines).
  • * Install satellite dishes.
  • * Erect antenna.
  • * Put in roof lights or dormer windows.
  • * Put in new doors or windows.
  • * Extend the back of your home.

All subject to design constraints, e.g. porch has to be less than 3m³, roof lights and dormers must not face the highway etc.

Extensions: What can be achieved within Permitted Development

  • * You can extend a private residence by 4m to the rear if it’s a single storey or 3m if it’s double.
  • * There are height restrictions but they are based on a single storey extension not being higher than 4m in height to the ridge and the eaves, and ridge heights of any extension not being higher that the existing property.
  • * Two storey extensions must not be closer that 7m to the rear boundary.
  • * It must be built in the same or similar material to the existing residence.
  • * Extensions must not protrude past the building line of the original residence.
  • * Side extensions must be single storey at a maximum height of 4m and a width no more than half of the original residence.
  • * In designated areas, side extensions require planning permission and all rear extensions must be single storey.
  • * An extension must not result in more than half the garden being covered.
  • * You can only extend once and the original building must either be as it was on 1st July 1948 or when it was built.

Loughton House Extension

Outbuildings: What You Can Do

  • * You are able to construct various outbuildings for the use and enjoyment of the home so long as they do not cover more than 50% of the garden area.
  • * Outbuildings must be single storey with a maximum ridge height of 4m for a pitched roof or 3m for any other kind of roof. The eaves height must be no more than 2.5 metres.
  • * Should the outbuilding be closer to the boundary wall than 2m, it shall be no higher than 2.5m.
  • * Outbuildings cannot protrude past the original residence.

Essex Garden Room

It's good to know...

Balconies, verandas and raised platforms (above 300mm) do not fall under PD rights. You will require planning permission to construct a drive from non-porous materials such as tarmac. You are able to construct a new drive from porous materials, or non-porous if provision for drainage is provided on the property, under PD.

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