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What is Permitted Development?

Updated: Dec 9, 2021




Permitted Development allows for certain building adaptations and improvements to be made without the need for a prior planning application or planning permission to be gained.

However, this is not always as straightforward as it sounds, and there are certain caveats to securing permitted development.


What does Permitted Development cover?


Gaining Permitted Development rights is based on the size and scale to the change of a property’s use, including the height and footprint of a property.


Just some of the property changes which can be made with Permitted Development rights include:


· Loft conversion

· Garage conversion

· Basement conversion

· Small ground floor extension to the side or rear of a property

· Solar panel installation

· New doors and windows

· A new drive, with sustainable drainage incorporated


The only way is up


Some Permitted Development can allow existing buildings to be extended upwards, such as existing homes. Single storey buildings may add one additional storey, and buildings of two storeys or more may add up to two additional storeys (subject to height limits). This includes detached, semi-detached, or terraced properties.


Up to two storeys can also be added to a block of flats in order to create new homes, so long as the existing block is already at least 3 storeys high.


Please bear in mind that these Permitted Development rights are subject to prior approval and require a fee.


Why a Permitted Development may not be allowed


There are a range of reasons of historical or environmental significance why a Permitted Development may not be permitted. This includes if the changes proposed are for a building located in:


· conservation areas

· Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

· National Parks

· the Broads

· World Heritage Sites


Some Permitted Development rights are also only in place for a limited amount of time, so it is worth making sure that, when securing permitted development rights, the work can be carried out in the timeframe specified.


Permitted Development can be limiting in terms of what can be realised on a site. This is due to the fact that any Permitted Development extensions must adhere to certain rules. For instance, there are limitations on the height of eaves and ridges, the location and height of windows and the requirement for materials to match those on the existing building.

However, Permitted Development rights do afford a building owner the opportunity to gain additional floor space in situations where they might not be able to under the umbrella of general planning policy. Seen in this light, they are a powerful tool to achieve additional space desired by the building owner.


An architect, with guidance from a planning consultant can offer their experience and expertise in matters concerning Permitted Development. If you need assistance with considering whether your residential or commercial property development requires permitted development, please contact our team.


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