Planning permission v permitted development

  Joanna Russell
  March 8, 2023

You own your house and you want to make some changes, but do you need planning permission or can you get started straight away under Permitted Development?

The Definition

Planning Permission is formal permission from your local authority to build or alter your home.

Permitted Development (or a General Permitted Development Order- GPDO 20015) is a pre-determined planning consent to carry out certain improvements to your home. As long as you stick to the pre-determined limitations then, under the General Permitted Development Order, you are deemed to have planning consent.

What requires Planning Permission?

The most common are (but not restricted to):

  • Two-storey extension (however, can be Permitted Development in some cases)
  • Demolish property and rebuild
  • Changes to a Listed building
  • Change of use eg a private garage is converted to a commercial office or an agricultural building converted into a new dwelling

What can you do within Permitted Development (GPDO)?

The most common are (but not restricted to):

  • Rear or side single-storey extension
  • Two-storey extension (however, can require Planning Permission in some cases)
  • Install a conservatory
  • Create a porch
  • Convert the loft space
  • Build a shed or outbuilding

What are Pre-Determined Limitations?

The items above are all subject to various restrictions known as pre-determined limitations. These can be for example, if you were planning a loft conversion, you would need to ensure that no part of the extension is higher than the highest part of the existing roof, or, that no verandas, balconies or raised platforms are installed, to name just two limitations.

Larger household extensions require prior approval from the local authority, ie single storey rear extensions up to 8 metres in the case of a detached house, or 6m otherwise.

Your PD rights will also be restricted if you live in an Area of Natural Beauty, Green Belt, Conservation Area or own a listed building, these have their own limitations and most likely require planning permission.

When can I start work on my property?

If the works you want to do are in line with the Permitted Development rights as set out in the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), what should you do?

In short, as long as you have checked that your proposed works do not breach the limitations set out in the GPDO, you can begin work immediately (subject to the additional requirements of the Building Regulations, see separate).

However, we would recommend you apply for a Lawful Development Certificate, this certificate confirms that the proposals are permitted under the GPDO. It is a document you can keep with your property documents and pass on at the time of sale.

To obtain a Lawful Development Certificate you submit an application much the same way that you would submit a planning application. The big difference is that this certificate does not need to be in place before works begin.

How much of my land can I extend on to?

It’s worth noting that you cannot cover more than 50% of the land around your house with extensions (including extensions by previous owners), and you must include any outbuildings when calculating this coverage. Sheds and other outbuildings count in this calculation. For new properties ‘original house’ means the house when it was first completed. For older properties, it means the house as it stood on 1st July 1948.

Should I speak to my local council before proceeding?

If in doubt, always check with your Local Planning Authority (LPA), an increasing number of local authorities offer a consultancy service for a small fee and will confirm in writing whether a planning application is required. This can be very useful when it comes to reselling the property within the first four years of completion.

MKA Architects and MKA Planning can also assist with the design and advise on whether planning permission is required, please contact us for more information on how we can help.

What is the Planning Portal?

The Planning Portal performs several different tasks from submitting applications to Local Planning Authorities, to tracking their progress and other helpful links such as finding out whether your home improvement project needs planning permission. Use their common projects and interactive guides to find out more about permitted developments.

Want to bring your project ideas to life?

Get in touch to discuss them with us.