Planning & Permitted Development

The Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (“the GPDO”) grants automatic planning permission for specific alterations to dwellings. These are called permitted development rights.

You can make some types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights”. They derive from rights granted not by the local authority but by the Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings.

The main changes can be summarised as follows:

Rear and side extensions

The current volume allowances for extensions are replaced by the following permitted development rights:

  • Permission to build a single storey rear extension up to 4m (in the case of a detached house) or 3m (in the case of any other house) out from the rear wall of the original building.
  • Permission to build a 2-storey rear extension up to 3m behind the rear wall of the existing house, but not extending closer than 7m from the rear boundary of the property.
  • Permission to build a single storey side extension not exceeding 4m in height, no wider than half the width of the original house and which does not front a highway.

If any extension comes within 2m of any side or rear boundary of the property, the eaves height of the extension must not exceed 3m.

In conservation areas, side extensions of any height and rear extensions of more than 1-storey are not allowed.

Loft conversions and other roof extensions will not require planning permission where:

  • The volume of the roof space is not increased by more than 40 cubic meters in the case of a terraced house or 50 cubic meters in any other case.
  • They do not extend beyond the plane of the existing roof slope which forms the main elevation of the house fronting the highway.
  • Any enlargement, except hip-to-gable construction, must be set back at least 20cm from the eaves, so as to avoid an entire roof being replaced.

These changes will give householders greater scope to extend and improve their homes without going to the time and expense of applying for planning permission. They might, however, increase neighbour disputes.

Remember Building Regulations nearly always are required for developments.

In some areas of the country, generally known as ‘designated areas’, permitted development rights are more restricted. If you live in a Conservation Area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not require an application in other areas.

There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.

You should also note that the local planning authority may have removed some of your permitted development rights by issuing an Article 4 direction. This will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which usually does not need one.

Article 4 directions are made when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas. You will probably know if your property is affected by such a direction, but you can check with the local planning authority if you are not sure.

NOTE: Houses created through permitted development rights to change use from shops, financial and professional services premises or agricultural buildings cannot use householder permitted development rights to improve, alter or extend homes: planning permission is required.

To take into consideration :

Neighbour Consultation Scheme is extended and permitted until 30 May 2019

  • The size limits have doubled from 4 to 8m for detached dwellings and 3 to 6m for other dwellings.
  • The homeowner needs to notify the local planning authority that they WISH to build a larger single story extension. This requires;
    • A written description of the proposal with length beyond the original house rear wall and heights.
    • A written description of the proposal with length beyond the original house rear wall and heights.
    • The address of all adjoining properties including the rear.
    • A contact address for the developer with an e-mail address.
    • This carries no Local authority Fee.
    • Please also Note: The local authority may ask for further information and design details to be able to assess the impact of amenity of adjoining properties.


The Local authority has a 42 day (6 weeks) determination period in which to respond (opposed to the 6-8 weeks planning application period) and will serve notice on adjoining owners or occupiers including the rear neighbours; this will include;

  • Full details of the proposed scheme, where and what the development is.
  • Details of when the application was received and when the determination period ends.
  • Details of how long the neighbours have to make objections with dates (this is a 21day min)
  • A copy of the notice will be sent to developer also.

If an objection is received, the Council will take this into account and make their decision based on the impact on the amenities of all adjoining properties. No other issues will be considered. The development can go ahead if the Council notifies the builder that there were no objections, or that there were objections but these have been discussed, taken into account and dismissed. This must be done within the 42 day period. If refused, the developer may appeal. The building must be built following the details approved by Local Authority (LA) with any changes in writing by the LA. If there is no response from the LA it can be built in accordance with details submitted in the notification. All other relevant limitation still applies as set out in the PD Technical Guidance Class A. (see details in the planning portal link)

The extension MUST be completed on or before 30 May 2016, and the developer must notify the local authority in writing of the date of completion.

NOTE. Building Regulation approval will still be required

For homeowners wanting to sell the property on, a Certification of lawfulness will be required. However is always worth considering a formal planning application from the start. It may save you time and costs in the long run, especially if you think the neighbours could be a problem.