understanding permitted development

So, you’ve decided to extend your property. Before creative minds roam free, you need to ensure you’re within your rights to realise your dreams. However, you may not have to go through the rigmarole and possible additional cost of seeking planning permission. Recent amendments to legislation for permitted development have ushered in major changes to planning law, which introduce a relaxation of what you can build without requiring planning permission.

What can I build under permitted development?

How you alter your property is subject to many of the same rules as before, so if you own a flat, maisonette or a property other that a house, permitted development is not the route for you.
If you live within an area of outstanding natural beauty, such as the South Downs National Park in East Sussex, then chances are, any proposed extension will have to go through planning.
The main changes – as of 30 May 2013 – apply to extensions, so the planning permission you thought you may need, you probably will not.

What do these permitted development changes mean for householders?

Two amendments are key: the size of the extension and the ‘neighbour consultation’ process.
For domestic houses, the rules apply to single-storey rear extensions only, while for grander designs, you must still seek planning permission.

  1. First, homeowners can erect far larger extensions than before; doubling the limit from 4m to 8m for detached houses and from 3m to 6m for all others.

  2. Second, `neighbour consultation’ has caused a bit of a stir, so it’s important to clarify the facts. Homeowners must now seek consent from any adjoining neighbours. OK, the days of nattering over the fence may be gone for many but being on good terms with your neighbours has no bearing on the law even though, under permitted development, you do need their consent and ‘prior approval’ from the local planning authority.

Once the applications are submitted, your neighbours have 21 days and the local authority 42 to raise any objections. If none are forthcoming within that window, regardless of whether both parties actually object, you can proceed. If an objection is made, however, you still have the right to appeal.

Always check the details first

It’s always best to err on the side of caution, so before diving into a building project, check for any restrictions on your properly. Seek advice from your local authority planning department and always consult an architect, planning consultants or builders for professional advice.

For further information:

planning portal: permitted development

planning portal: size limits for single storey rear extensions

planning portal: neighbour consultation scheme

Need some inspiration? These projects, all located in Brighton and Hove, were all completed through Permitted Development.