Permitted Development (PD)
Some projects that involve works on a house can be built without planning permission. This is feasible if a property enjoys “Permitted Development rights” (PD). These rights derive from the Town and Country Planning Act, as amended, and have been created by Central Government. In principle, your PD rights are unaffected by policies and preferences of the local Councils, however it is wise to be very cautious before doing any construction work. Numerous Councils seek to resist PD by very strict interpretations of the rules and this can lead to Enforcement action, (eg. for outbuildings or roof extensions which may be slightly bigger than the PD allows). Additional restrictions on PD may arise if the project is in a Conservation Areas, or in Green Belt, or related to a Listed Building.
In order that you can gain certainty that your extension or other PD project is free from future Enforcement, it is worth considering an application for a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’. This is also known as a ‘Certificate of Lawful Development’, and it can be applied for either before or after the construction has taken place. Except for the very simplest of extensions, it is strongly recommended that the certificate is applied for before building work takes place. A further benefit of a certificate is that any future buyers of your property, (or their legal advisers), will be reassured that you have approval.
The intention of PD is so that householders can avoid the more complex process of applying for ‘Full’ planning permission. It also reduces the amount of work that the Councils have to perform, (for example, because there is no public consultation required). Therefore the Council fees are lower. Subject to certain specified conditions, projects that can be built under PD rights include:
- Porches and conservatories
- Outbuildings, including sheds and garages
- Loft conversions, with or without roof extensions
- Rear and side extensions
- 2-storey rear extensions
The conditions that determine whether a project is legitimate under Permitted Development rights are detailed by the government in the General Permitted Development Order, (as amended), and relate to the size, scale and design on proposals, including the external materials.