Exciting Permitted Development Updates: Do You Need Planning Permission?

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    This article is written for homeowners who are contemplating making alterations to their property and those who are interested in the changes to Permitted Development Rights in the UK, particularly those with a vacant or otherwise redundant building they may wish to convert to a residential dwelling. In the next ten minutes you will learn exactly what Permitted Development Rights are, what works they apply to, and when and how they are removed.

    Embarking on the journey of transforming your home can be both exhilarating and daunting. Whether you’re dreaming of a spacious kitchen extension, a sun-drenched conservatory, or simply converting that dusty loft into a much-needed third bedroom, the possibilities are endless. However, before the first brick is laid, it’s crucial to get the right permissions in place so you don’t run foul of the law.

    What Are Permitted Development Rights?

    Permitted Development (PD) Rights grant homeowners permission to make specific changes to their property without having to go through the costly and time-consuming process of gaining planning consent. Sounds great, right? It is.

    What Can You Do Under PD?

    PD Word Cloud 1

    On 5th March 2024, the UK government simplified Permitted Development Rights, making it easier for homeowners and their design teams to navigate. Now, you can do even more under PD. Providing you meet the criteria and respect its limitations, several types of work can be carried out without the need for planning permission:

    • Internal alterations.
    • Extensions including: single-storey, two-storey, rear and side.
    • Adding a new storey.
    • Loft conversions.
    • Garage conversions.
    • Porches, outbuildings and garden rooms.
    • External render and cladding.
    • Change of use – Business to Residential.
    • Demolition of certain building types and replacement with new homes.
    • Installation of rooflights and dormers (not facing a highway).
    • Installation of solar panels and air source heat pumps (ASHP).

    What Has Changed?

    As part of the UK government’s changes to simplify PD Rights and make it easier for homeowners to improve and extend their properties, the criteria is now less stringent than ever and several things no longer require planning permission. Some of the most exciting changes with the biggest impacts are:

    • Single-Storey Rear Extensions
    • Commercial to Residential Conversions
    • Demolition and Rebuild of Redundant Buildings
    • Changes to Use Classes

    Single-Storey Rear Extensions

    The maximum allowable depth for single-storey rear extensions has been increased under ‘Prior Approval Process’ which allows you to double the PD allowance from 3m (for a semi-detached) and 4m (for a detached). This change provides homeowners with greater flexibility when extending their properties, allowing for more spacious and functional living areas without the need for a full planning application. The size increases are:

    Detached Houses

    From 6 to 8 metres.
    Extensions to detached dwellings under Permitted Development.
    An increase from 6 to 8 metres for detached dwellings.

    Terraced and Semi-Detached Houses

    From 4 to 6 metres.
    Extensions to terrace or semi-detached dwellings under Permitted Development.
    An increase from 4 to 6 metres for terraced or semi-detached dwellings.

    Commercial to Residential Conversions

    It is now much easier to convert commercial properties into residential dwellings. This change is particularly beneficial for repurposing underutilised commercial spaces, contributing to housing supply, and revitalising urban areas.

    • Demolition and Rebuild: You are now able to demolish and rebuild vacant B1 Use Class for residential use under permitted development rights. This change offers an opportunity to replace outdated or non-functional structures with modern, energy-efficient homes without the need for a full planning application, where previously you had to adapt the old building.
    • Changes to Use Classes: The introduction of new “Use Classes” has simplified the process of changing the use of a building without the need for a full planning application. For example, changing a property from a shop (A1) to a café (E) can now be done under permitted development rights, providing it meets specific criteria.

    Benefits for Homeowners

    These simplifications to permitted development rights offer several benefits for homeowners, including:
    • Greater flexibility in extending and improving their properties.
    • Streamlined processes for repurposing underutilised buildings.
    • Opportunities to create modern, energy-efficient homes without the need for a full planning application.
    • Simplified procedures for changing the use of buildings, supporting local economies and communities.
    However, it’s important to be aware that these rights can be removed under specific circumstances.

    Can Permitted Development Rights Be Withdrawn?

    Yes, permitted development rights can be removed by the local planning authority through the implementation of an “Article 4 direction” or by imposing planning conditions. These measures are typically employed to control development in specific areas, such as Conservation Areas or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The removal of permitted development rights means that homeowners are required to submit a planning application for work that would normally be allowed under permitted development.

    Implications for Homeowners

    The removal of permitted development rights can have significant implications for homeowners. It means that alterations or extensions to their properties, which would have previously been permissible under permitted development, now require full planning permission. This process can be more time-consuming and involves additional costs.

    It’s essential for homeowners to be aware of any restrictions that may apply to their property and to seek guidance from the local planning authority if they are uncertain about the status of their permitted development rights.

    Listed Buildings and Permitted Development
    For homeowners of Listed Buildings, it’s important to note that permitted development rights can be limited. Listed Building Consent is required for any alterations that affect the fabric of the building, and it’s advisable to consult with the local planning authority or a heritage professional before undertaking any work on a listed property.
    Seeking Clarification
    If homeowners believe that their permitted development rights have been affected, it’s crucial to seek clarification from the local planning authority. They can provide information on any article 4 directions that may apply to a specific area or property, as well as details of any planning conditions that restrict permitted development.
    Lawful Development Certificates

    A Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) is not mandatory, but not having one in place exposes you to risks. If your designs deviate from the Permitted Development Guidelines, you could incur fines and potentially be required to dismantle your construction. When selling your home, you must demonstrate to potential buyers that your project adhered to the Permitted Development Rights applicable at the time. Having an LDC in place simplifies and expedites this process.

    Other Applications and Constraints

    Building Regulations

    It is important to note that while Planning Permission may not be formally required, you need to ensure that your project is Building Regulations compliant. The regulations are legal standards that dictate the construction requirements for the works to be deemed liveable. They prioritise the safety of the building, its surrounding. and its occupants, addressing aspects such as ventilation, insulation, structural integrity, and fire safety.

    Party Wall Act

    Another potential constraint you could encounter is the Party Wall Act. These agreements are in place to safeguard the interests of your neighbours when undertaking structural alterations either on or close by to a shared wall. You’ll be required to issues them with a Party Wall Notice and secure written consent for the proposed works. 


    The recent simplifications to permitted development rights for homes represent a positive step towards empowering homeowners to enhance and repurpose their properties more easily. By providing greater flexibility in making alterations and extensions, streamlining processes for repurposing buildings, and simplifying procedures for changing use classes, these changes are designed to support sustainable growth, housing supply, and local economic vitality.

    For homeowners who are considering altering, extending, or repurposing their property, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the specific criteria and limitations associated with permitted development rights.

    If you aren’t sure whether the work you wish to carry out falls under permitted development, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us. As part of our Initial Appraisal service, we’ll be able to tell you which applications you need, if any, as well as the likely costs of your project.

    Written by Samantha Hamilton – Partner & Lead Architect

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