Permitted development explained


If you are able to undertake certain work at your property without having to obtain planning permission, you are said to have “permitted development rights”. This is taken from a general level of planning permission that has been initiated by Parliament as opposed to any local council or authority.

When it comes to permitted development, it is important to note that not all property types in the same area automatically receive the same benefits. The permitted development rights that apply to a house do not necessarily apply to maisonettes or flats. The same can be said for the status of the property. If a building is listed as being suitable for commercial use, the property owners may not have the same permitted development rights as the owner of a domestic dwelling.

Another issue to bear in mind when it comes to permitted development is that there are some areas of the country with a higher level of restriction on these rights. Anyone that lives in a “designated area” is likely to have limited rights compared to people that don’t live in these designated areas.

Examples of what is classed as a designated area include:

  • National Parks
  • Conservation areas
  • World Heritage sites
  • Areas of outstanding beauty

This means that work which wouldn’t require permission in other parts of the country will require planning permission in these areas. Buildings that are recognised as a listed building will also find that a different criteria is imposed on them, which means that planning permission should be sought before carrying out work.

It is best to check that no planning permission is required

While many people will find that permitted development rights do apply to them, it is always best to contact the local planning authority in advance of any work being done. Discussing the proposal with the local authority will provide you with a strong starting point for any work that you want to do. If you don’t require any planning permission, you can carry on in full confidence. If you do require permission or some development work will not be permitted, it is best to find out in advance of actually doing any work. If you do need apply for permission to undertake some or all aspects of the work, your local authority will be able to inform you of how and where to apply.

One issue that has caused concern for some people is the fact that local planning authorities will sometimes remove permitted development rights through the use of an ‘Article 4’ direction. This means that although the work you want to be undertaken doesn’t actually require planning permission, you need to obtain planning permission.

The Article 4 direction comes when a particular aspect or character of the area holds significant importance and this importance could be threatened by work undertaken. Article 4 directions are most commonly found in conservation areas. This is something that is usually detailed in the deeds of your property but again, it is always worth checking with your local authority before undertaken any work.

Homes that have been developed through permitted development rights to alter the use of the premises cannot then use householder permitted developments rights to extend, alter or improve the property, additional planning permission needs to be obtained.

With respect to relevant legislation, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 is the leading order. This outlines the areas and classes where planning permission is provided automatically. It also details areas where there are no restrictive conditions or where there is an exemption from permitted development rights.

Your privacy and our use of cookies

Read more about cookies and learn how to disable them.