5 tips for understanding permitted development

Planning ahead: PD rules can vary depending on the type of house [PA Photo/thinkstockphotos]

Planning ahead: PD rules can vary depending on the type of house [PA Photo/thinkstockphotos] - Credit: Archant

You don’t always need planning permission for building work - your home’s permitted development rights could save you time and money, but what are they?

1. Big home improvements, like loft conversions and extensions, can often be done under your home’s permitted development (PD) rights. This means you don’t need planning permission, as long as you stick to the PD rules governing width, height, materials, etc. However, it’s advisable to apply to your local council for a lawful development certificate for building work that doesn’t require planning permission. When you come to sell your home, this certificate is invaluable because it proves the work is lawful.

2. The PD rules can vary depending on the type of house - with loft conversions, any additional roof space created must not be more than 40 cubic metres in terraced houses, and 50 cubic metres in detached and semi-detached houses. The PD rules can also be different on ‘designated land’, which includes conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For example, side extensions are not permitted development on designated land.

3. Flats and maisonettes don’t have PD rights and some houses have had theirs removed, or partially removed - this is often the case in conservation areas. Permitted development isn’t just about major building work - if your home doesn’t have PD rights, you’ll probably need planning permission for things as simple as erecting a garden shed, decking or paving your garden, and replacing the windows and external doors.

4. Until 30 May 2019, most houses (exceptions apply) can build a longer rear extension without planning permission than would normally be allowed under the PD rules. For detached houses, rear extensions can be 8m instead of 4m long and for attached houses, 6m instead of 3m. However, the local council will consult your immediate neighbours about your plans and if any object, it can uphold their objection and refuse permission for the extension. Some councils frown on extensions of more than 3m if you have an adjoining neighbour or neighbours (even if they don’t object), although it may be possible to do a longer extension on the non-adjoining side in the case of semis.

5. To find out more about the PD rules, go to www.planningportal.co.uk, where the information includes guides to popular building projects, such as extensions and loft conversions, and an interactive house, terrace, flat and shop. However, the most accurate way to find out which rules and regulations apply to your home and proposed building project, is to speak to your local council. You may not realise, for example, that you live on designated land or in a house that has had its PD rights removed.