A guide to Permitted Development Rights

The Refresh Renovations guide to understanding Permitted Development Rights

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When most of us think of extending or renovating a property, the concept of planning permission immediately springs to mind. Planning permission is seen as a big hurdle and a difficult process, but it needn’t be; and it isn’t always required. Permitted Development Rights act as a kind of ‘middle ground’ between no permission rights at all and full planning permission – and is often the only information homeowners need to embark on their next property project. 
Here, we cover the basics of Permitted Development Rights and what they may mean for your renovation or extension.
A garage converted into a small office and hobby spcae

What are Permitted Development Rights?

Permitted Development Rights are an automatic right to the extension and renovation of some properties that allow for works to be carried out without any planning application having to be made. Most residential properties have Permitted Development Rights, but they do not apply to flats or maisonettes; as development of these properties is likely to impact on others around it.
The exact details should always be confirmed with the local planning authority, but in most cases, Permitted Development Rights will grant automatic planning permission for the following:
- Small extensions that fit within certain dimensions
- Single storey extensions that don’t breach a certain height requirement
- Minor demolition projects
- Loft conversions
- Garage conversions
- The building of a porch less than 3m²
- Internal alterations
- The installation of solar panels
- The installation of satellite dishes
- The installation of rooflights or dormer windows (when not facing a highway)
- The laying of a new drive made from porous materials or non-porous materials with sufficient drainage. 
A loft completed extension that has been turned into a living space

Are there instances where Permitted Development Rights don’t apply?

There are many circumstances in which full Planning Permission must be sought for property development projects; particularly for large extensions or major renovations.
The exact scope of Permitted Development Rights changes regularly and so advice should be sought from the local planning authority even when homeowners suspect they may be covered, just in case. What is and is not covered by Permitted Development Rights vary between England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, as well as between local authorities within.
In some locations where listings or natural historical protections don’t feature, local authorities may issue an ‘Article 4’ direction. This suggests that the character of an area is of acknowledged importance which could be threatened by unrestricted works; and so full Planning Permission would be required. Property owners will usually know if their building is covered by an Article 4 restriction, but as ever, this should be checked and confirmed with local planning authorities before any work is planned or projects embarked upon.
Balconies, verandas and platforms over 30cm are not covered by Permitted Development Rights, nor are any alterations to listed buildings or properties situated in conservation areas.

What are the benefits of having Permitted Development Rights over full Planning Permission?

Extensions and renovations covered by Permitted Development Rights negate the need for the application of full Planning Permission. This saves hugely on the time spent on projects (Planning Permission can often take months, if not longer), but also money (through application fees and the revamp of plans to fit proposals) and effort. Extending and/or renovating covered under Permitted Development Rights is considerably easier than going through the application process for Planning Permission and so should always be prioritised and favoured if possible.

If Permitted Development Rights change all the time, what are the latest updates?

The exact scope of Permitted Development Rights is bespoke to each local authority, but there are some broad changes that will apply to many. These include the ability to extend residential blocks upwards to two storeys rather than one, and the extension of Planning Permission to cover storey extensions on purpose-built flats and residential blocks up to two storeys, where disruption could be minimised, through a fast-track application process.
The Ministry of Housing Communities ‘Planning For The Future’ statement makes mention of support for those who wish to build their homes in ambitious projects from scratch where it will help small communities such as parish councils and neighbourhood forums to grow organically.
A construction worker laying a new driveway

How can I check if my project qualifies for Permitted Development Rights or if I need full Planning Permission?

Advice should always be sought to clarify exact requirements for any project. Local planning authorities will be able to give advice and further information and direction for a property extension and/or renovation.
The government has an online planning portal with an interactive tool for the assessment of projects and their potential planning requirements. 
Where Permitted Development Rights do apply, no formal application to any local authority needs to be made. However, it is the establishment of whether or not these Rights do apply that must be sought as the first step in any project.

What’s a Lawful Development Certificate?

A Lawful Development Certificate, often abbreviated to just LDC, is a legal document that formalises the eligibility for a project to be embarked upon under Permitted Development Rights rather than full Planning Permission. Whilst this is by no means a legal requirement to begin renovation or extension work, it is often requested later on when a property is being sold.
In order to obtain an LDC, advice be sought from the local planning authority and sometimes, a nominal fee paid. The planning authority will require details of the project planned in order to prove its eligibility for development under Permitted Development Rights. 
An LDC can be refused by a local planning authority, although provided the property owner has fully explored the scope of their project, is rare. In the event an LDC is refused, an appeal can be made to the Planning Inspectorate and further advice sought.
It is advisable to pay the fee and obtain an LDC if the property is intended to be sold or developed further in the future. 

Get in touch!

Curious to know if your home renovation plans fall under permitted development rights? Get in touch to arrange a consultation with a specialist in your area. Refresh Renovations specialists can guide you through any local regulations your project may require and will be your one point of contact throughout the renovation.

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