Your guide - permitted development
Thankfully, some renovation projects don't require planning permission and can be carried out under permitted development. So before you go ahead and apply for planning permission, read our useful guide on permitted development and get a steer on your project.
How can I confirm whether my project is within permitted development?
You should always check on your local authority website which will give local advice. For a small fee, many local authorities provide a service where you can apply for advice on whether you need planning permission.
The government's planning portal will also guide you on the most popular renovation projects.
So what type of work can I do within permitted development?
Here are some common types of projects that are often carried out within permitted development...
Garage conversions are normally within permitted development as you're not actually changing the structure or adding to the footprint. The normal exceptions are if the garage is a separate building or if you are increasing the size.
The rules around extensions have changed in recent years and in many cases you can build an extension without planning permission. The main criteria for an extension falling within permitted development is the size. You can build up to 6 metres to the rear of a terraced or semi-detached property and 8 metres for a detached. You must be 7 metres from the rear of the boundary and it must not be more than half the area of the land round the original house.
If your loft conversion is less than 40 cubic metres in a semi, or 50 cubic metres for a detached, it is unlikely that you will need to apply for planning permission. There are other criteria including the look of the extension, the height of the roof and whether you are facing a main road.
An internal remodel is a great way to make your home feel bigger by changing the layout and often making it open plan. Thankfully, internal remodelling is usually within permitted development as you are not changing the overall footprint, nor are you changing the look from the outside.
Conservatories fall into the same planning permission rules as single storey extensions and, as they are normally modest in size, are likely to be within permitted development.
Change the exterior
Unless your home is in a designated area, you can usually change the look of the exterior of your property by cladding, rendering or painting. Giving your home an exterior facelift can significantly change the kerb appeal and add value to your home.
Adding a porch
You are able to add a porch as long as it’s not more than 3 metres high, 3 metres wide or closer than 2 metres to the front boundary. A porch is a great way to smarten up your exterior and give extra space for shoes & coats.
Other home improvements
Other small projects include changing the windows, installing solar panels or fitting roof lights are often within permitted development.
Remember to check your local authority website or the planning portal to confirm the definitive list of considerations!
Are there any certificates I need to get instead?
You can apply to your local council for a lawful development certificate (LDC). This is proof that your building work was done lawfully and didn't require planning permission. It's particularly helpful for any queries should you wish to sell your home in the future.
Are there any exceptions to look out for?
If your property is within a designated area then you will likely need to apply for planning permission. Designated areas include:
- an Area of Natural Beauty
- a Conservation area
- a National Park
- The Broads
- a World Heritage Site
Also, many of the permitted development rights do not apply to flats or maisonettes, so do check the planning permission rules in this instance.
If your property is listed then you also will need to follow different rules as well as apply for listed building consent.
Are there any other regulations to consider?
Even though you may not require planning permission you always need to ensure the conversion is compliant with building regulations. For more information, read our article your guide - building regulations.
You may also need to serve notice to your neighbours under the Party Wall etc Act 1996 (England and Wales only), so make sure you keep them informed early in the process to help everything run smoothly. This is a common requirement for loft extensions, basement conversions and extensions.
If you are planning an extension, you must consider how your project will impact your neighbours light (Right to Light). If you seriously block light into a window, and the window has been there for more than 20 years, they can take legal action.
Published: March 25, 2020