What is Permitted Development?

A brief guide to the nature and uses of the Permitted Development Rights

old house

It is possible to make some kinds of minor changes to your home without the need for planning permission, and these changes come under what is called Permitted Development.

Each of the allowed changes is known as a Permitted Development Right. The rights are part of a general planning permission granted by Parliament. The local authority is not involved with them and you may carry out work under Permitted Development without notifying your local council’s planning department if you wish. It is worth remembering that the permitted development rights which apply to a number of common projects for houses are not applicable to flats, maisonettes, or other buildings.

Variations of the Permitted Development Rights

Some parts of the country known as ‘designated areas’ are put under more restricted versions of the rights. You may need to apply for planning permission to carry out certain types of work which are allowed under Permitted Development elsewhere if you live in a National Park, Conservation Area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

Listed buildings are also subject to different requirements from non-listed buildings.

It is generally advisable to contact the local planning authority to discuss a proposal before any work is done. They will be able to let you know of any reason why the development may not be permitted and whether you need to apply for planning permission for all or even just a part of the project.

Permitted Development Rights Withdrawn

You should always bear in mind that your local planning authority has the ability to remove some of your permitted development rights by issuing an Article 4 direction. This would mean having to submit an application for planning permission where an application would ordinarily not have been needed.

An Article 4 direction is made when the character of an area considered to be of acknowledged importance would come under threat. The article is most often put into force in conservation areas, and you will probably know if your property is affected by such a direction. Check with the local planning authority if you are unsure.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 is the principal order which has since been subject to various amendments.

The order gives the classes of development which are automatically given a grant of planning permission, assuming that no restrictive condition is attached or that the development is exempt from Permitted Development.

Image: Titus Tscharntke

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