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Homeowner’s guide to permitted development

home owners guidePerrmitted Development (PD) rights are an important factor for many homeowners wishing to make improvements to their homes without the need to obtain planning consent. If you are thinking of upgrading your windows, converting your loft or building a home extension, this may be of relevance to you.

At Cosey Homes, our experienced team of Chartered Surveyors, structural engineers and building engineers operate nationwide, offering a wide range of property-related consultancy and reporting services to help you get the most out of your building. Let’s take a close look at what exactly is meant by Permitted Development and how you can take advantage of your rights.

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted Development rights are a type of general planning permission that are granted by Parliament. Homeowners are granted rights to carry out certain types of works without needing to apply for planning permission. This can be of huge benefit to anyone who wants to improve their property and add value, or is looking to maximise the potential of a new property investment.

All Permitted Development requirements apply to the dwelling as it was built originally, or stood on 1st July 1948. As such, there is a limit to the number of changes you can make to your home under PD. It also means that if you buy a property that has been previously altered, including any space added by past owners since 1948, some or indeed all of your PD allocation may already have been used up.

Like planning permission, Permitted Development is regulated through local planning authorities and you need to make sure your plans are compliant before you start building, or apply for a lawful development certificate.

Can Permitted Development rights be restricted?

Permitted Development rights do not always apply, and they can be withdrawn. Leasehold properties, such as flats and maisonettes, for instance, have no PD rights. Not only will you need the landlord’s written consent for any structural alterations you are contemplating, you will also need full planning permission.

If your house is part of a Designated Area, such as a Conservation Area, Area of Outstanding Beauty, National Park or World Heritage Site, your PD rights may be restricted or removed altogether under an Article 4 Direction. In these circumstances, the interests of preserving the character of the local area take priority. The same will apply if your house is a listed building, in which case you will need Listed Building Consent for improvements or alterations to any ‘listed’ features.

Before you embark on any home improvements, check the rules on the Planning Portal and ask your local planning authority for guidance, or get confirmation from a qualified surveyor that your proposed works are classed as Permitted Development. Should your building project fall outside the scope for Permitted Development for whatever reason, you will need to apply for planning consent.

What can you do under Permitted Development?

Householder PD rights fall into various categories, both for external and internal works, and depending on the improvements you are planning to make. Each has strict criteria that must be adhered to, meaning that if your project falls outside the set criteria, planning consent is required.

Subject to the above, home improvements that fall under Permitted Developments typically include:

• Building a front porch
• Internal alterations to the building
• Loft conversions into habitable space
• Fitting rooflights and dormer windows
• Erecting antenna and satellite dishes
• Installing solar roof panels
• Rear building extensions
• Side extensions
• Garage conversions

What can you NOT do under Permitted Development?

Permitted Development rights are highly unlikely to apply if you are planning on building a new house, or if you are subdividing a property to form new dwellings. The following types of works are also not covered:

• Front extensions
• Extensions greater than 50% of the original land around the original house
• Extensions over 4 metres tall or greater than 50% of the width of the original house
• Balconies
• Verandas
• Raised platforms

As mentioned above, Permitted Development rights do not apply to listed buildings, flats or maisonettes.

Get in touch

If you are planning to add value to your property by making alterations and improvements to the building, contact Cosey Homes for professional advice and guidance on your Permitted Development rights and planning issues. Our engineers are experienced in drawing up structural calculations and architectural designs for any new works you are contemplating, and we offer a free consultation.