Permitted Development

Permitted Development, Planning Permission

Permitted Development Rights: What You Can Build Without Planning Permission

Navigating the world of construction and property development can be a complex and bureaucratic process. Often requiring numerous permits and approvals. However, there’s a significant exception to this rule in the form of “permitted development rights.” These rights offer property owners a certain level of flexibility when it comes to making changes or extensions to their homes or other structures without the need for full planning permission. In this blog, we’ll explore the concept of permitted development rights and highlight the types of projects that can be undertaken under this category. Making the construction process smoother and more accessible.

Understanding Permitted Development Rights

Permitted development rights are a set of planning permissions that automatically apply to various types of development work. These rights exist to streamline the planning process for minor building projects. Allowing property owners to make alterations or extensions without the need to go through the lengthy, costly, and often uncertain process of obtaining full planning permission. The idea behind permitted development rights is to empower property owners to make improvements to their homes and properties, while still maintaining a degree of control and regulation to protect the surrounding environment.

Types of Projects Covered by Permitted Development Rights

  1. Home Extensions

One of the most common uses of permitted development rights is for home extensions. Depending on your property type and location, you can often add extra space to your home without seeking full planning permission. However, there are limitations on the size and design of these extensions. And it’s crucial to adhere to the guidelines set by your local planning authority.

  1. Loft Conversions

Converting your loft space into a functional living area, such as an extra bedroom or office, can usually be done under permitted development rights. Again, there are specific rules to follow regarding the volume and design of the conversion. So, it’s essential to consult your local planning authority for guidance.

  1. Outbuildings

Building small detached structures like garden sheds, garages, or home offices is often covered by permitted development rights. However, the size, location, and purpose of these structures must comply with local regulations.

  1. Conservatories

Adding a conservatory to your property can be done without full planning permission in most cases. There are rules about size, design, and location that must be followed, and consulting your local authority is advisable.

  1. Changes to the Exterior

Making cosmetic changes to the exterior of your property. Such as re-roofing, re-rendering, or installing new windows and doors, can usually be done under permitted development rights. However, the design and materials must align with local regulations.

  1. Change of Use

In some instances, you may be able to change the use of a building without full planning permission. Such as converting a commercial property into a residential one. However, this depends on various factors, including the location and intended use.

It’s essential to note that the specific rules and regulations regarding permitted development rights can vary depending on your location, the type of property you own, and other factors. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with your local planning authority or a professional architect or builder to ensure you’re within the legal parameters.


Permitted development rights provide property owners with a valuable opportunity to make improvements and alterations to their homes and properties without the need for full planning permission. By adhering to the guidelines and regulations set by your local planning authority, you can undertake various projects, such as home extensions, loft conversions, and the construction of outbuildings, while maintaining the character and integrity of your neighborhood. Understanding and utilizing these rights can save you time, money, and unnecessary bureaucracy in your construction endeavors. However, always consult with experts to ensure compliance with the rules and regulations applicable to your specific situation.

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Permitted Development

Understanding the Distinction Between Prior Approval and Permitted Development

In the realm of urban planning and land use, two terms often crop up: “prior approval” and “permitted development.” While these terms might seem interchangeable at first glance, they actually represent distinct processes that play crucial roles in regulating and guiding development activities. Both mechanisms offer a balance between facilitating development and safeguarding the interests of the community and environment. This article aims to elucidate the differences between prior approval and permitted development. Shedding light on their significance within the realm of urban planning.

Permitted Development: Navigating Development Rights

“Permitted development” refers to specific types of construction, alterations, or changes of use that are granted an automatic planning permission by law, without the need for a formal planning application. This streamlined process allows for minor developments that have been deemed acceptable within certain parameters. The main goal of permitted development rights is to encourage smaller-scale developments that do not require a full planning process. Ultimately promoting flexibility and efficiency in the planning system.

Common examples of permitted development include small extensions, loft conversions, and certain changes of use. Such as, converting offices into residential spaces. However, it’s important to note that permitted development rights are not absolute. Local authorities can remove or limit these rights in specific areas through the use of Article 4 Directions, which means that even minor developments would require formal planning permission.

Prior Approval: Seeking Approval for Specific Aspects

Prior approval, on the other hand, pertains to a process by which developers must seek the approval of the local planning authority for specific aspects of a development that fall under permitted development rights. While the broader development might be considered acceptable under permitted development, certain factors like design, appearance, impact on the local environment, and infrastructure considerations require assessment and approval through the prior approval process.

For example, a developer might want to convert a commercial building into residential units, which is permitted development. However, the local planning authority might require prior approval for aspects such as the impact on transport and highways, contamination risks, and flooding. This process ensures that even developments granted permitted development rights are subject to scrutiny. Guaranteeing that potential negative impacts are addressed before construction begins.

Key Differences and Significance

Scope of Regulation: The fundamental difference between prior approval and permitted development lies in the scope of regulation. Permitted development focuses on the types of development that are automatically granted planning permission. While prior approval targets specific aspects of those developments that might have significant implications for the surrounding environment and community.

Assessment Process: Permitted development does not require a formal planning application, as the rights are automatically granted. On the other hand, prior approval involves a formal application process specifically for the aspects requiring approval. This process allows local planning authorities to assess and mitigate potential issues.

Flexibility vs. Scrutiny: Permitted development offers flexibility by streamlining the approval process for smaller-scale developments. Prior approval introduces an additional layer of scrutiny, ensuring that potential problems are addressed even within the context of permitted development.

Balancing Interests: Both mechanisms strive to balance the interests of developers and the community. Permitted development facilitates small-scale construction without overwhelming the planning system. While prior approval ensures that even streamlined developments meet certain standards and requirements.

In conclusion, the distinction between prior approval and permitted development lies in their focus and process within the urban planning landscape. Permitted development grants automatic planning permission for specific types of developments. While prior approval addresses specific aspects of those developments that require assessment and approval. Both mechanisms contribute to a nuanced approach to urban planning that seeks to accommodate development while safeguarding the interests of communities and the environment.

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Permitted Development

Home additions you can build without planning permission 

Are you looking to extend your home but are dreading the thought of applying and waiting for planning permission? Then you’re in the right place! Here we divulge in the renovation projects you can achieve under permitted development.  

What you can build without full planning permission –  

A standard loft conversion –  

Transforming a loft into a liveable space can be a cost-effective way to add more space. In the UK, you won’t need planning permission as long as the conversion is no higher than the highest part of the roof. Also, if you use similar materials to the existing house.  

To be permitted development any additional roof space created must not exceed these volume allowances:  

  • 40 cubic metres for terraced houses.  
  • 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses. 

However, the roof enlargement can’t hang over the outer wall of the house.  

A single storey extension –  

You can build a single storey rear and side under permitted development rights. Although, there a lot of conditions you must follow, for example: 

  • The extension is built on the side or rear of the home 
  • Cannot extend past the rear wall by 3 metres for an attached property or 4 metres for a detached home 
  • Building materials must be similar to the existing property 
  • It takes up less than 50% of the land surrounding the property 
  • Must be less than 4 metres in height or 3 metres if it is within 2 metres of a boundary 
  • Any eaves or ridges must be no taller than the original property 

Replace the windows and doors –  

If you are simply replacing the windows with a similar size and style then you won’t need to apply for planning permission. However, if you want to add new windows then you will need planning permission. Also, if your house is a listed building you will need to get permission.  

You don’t usually need to apply for planning permission for:  

  • repairs, maintenance, and minor improvements, such as repainting window and door frames 
  • insertion of new windows and doors that are of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the house (note – a new bay window will be treated as an extension and may require permission). If new windows are in an upper-floor side elevation they must be obscure-glazed and either non opening or more than 1.7 metres above the floor level 
  • installation of internal secondary glazing. 

Installing roof Lanterns and skylights –  

Installing rooflights can be a great way to increase the natural light in a home. They are usually under permitted development. But mustn’t stick out by more than 150mm from the plane of the roof.  

Image credit: Billy Bolton

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Permitted Development, Planning Permission

The difference between permitted development and planning permission

What’s the difference between planning and permitted development? This is one of the most frequently asked questions at Pro Arkitects. Many people often don’t know what each of them mean or get the two confused. So, this blog will explain the differences between the two.  

The definition of both applications –  

Firstly, planning permission is formal consent from your local authority to build or alter your home. This is in place to deter inappropriate developments.  

Permitted development is a pre-determined planning consent to carry out certain improvements to your home.  

What is the difference between the two?  

So, full planning permission is asking permission to build. It’s usually required when building a new dwelling or making extensive changes to an existing one. In addition, a planning application can take up to 10 weeks to decide. This includes a 2-week validation period and an 8-week decision period.  

Whereas, permitted development is simply notifying your local authority of your intension to do so. This was created, so that you can extend/ renovate your home without the need of full planning. As previously mentioned, works that require planning permission will require the submission of an application, whereas those that fall within Permitted Development rights do not, however, we would always advise applying for a Certificate of Lawful Development. Although, permitted development doesn’t require a decision time the application can also take up to 10 weeks. However, overall permitted development is quicker and cheaper.  

What requires planning permission?  

The most common are:  

  • Firstly, Change of use  
  • Two storey extension  
  • Changes to a listed building 
  • Finally, Demolish property and rebuild 

Things you can do within permitted development –  

  • Create a porch 
  • Convert the loft  
  • Install a conservatory  
  • Add windows and roof lights 
  • Build a shed or an outbuilding  
  • Rear or side single storey extension

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Permitted Development, Planning Permission

Planning Permission And Permitted Development

Here is everything you can build under planning permission and permitted development. 

What do I need planning permission for? 

Planning permission is a form of consent from your local council, for a proposed building project. This is not always required, but usually needed when a completely new building Is proposed or a large change to the existing property. 

Do I need full planning permission? 

Building without planning permission is called permitted development. Permitted development rights allows homeowners to do certain building works that come under there rules and regulations. For example, the projects you can do under permitted development are: 

  • A standard loft conversion: As long as the loft conversion is no higher than the highest part of the roof and the materials used have to be the same or similar to the existing materials.  
  • Add a single-storey extension: The building materials must be the same or similar materials. Also, the extension cannot extend past the rear wall by 3 meters if a semi-detached home or 4 meters for a detached home. Must be built on the side or rear of your home. 
  • Change internal floor plan: you can change your internal walls as long as it is not a structural wall. You also need to make sure you’re not extending your overall footprint of the property. 
  • Replacing windows and doors: you do not usually need planning permission unless you live in a listed home or conservation area. 
  • Add a side extension: must be a single-storey and less than 4 meters in height. And, it can be no more than half the width of the original house. 
  • Add a porch: you will not need to apply for planning as long as the floor doesn’t exceed 3 square meters and no more than 3 meters above the ground. 

When is planning permission needed? 

  • Large building operations such as structural alterations, extensive construction, rebuilding and demolition. 
  • Engineering operations  
  • Subdivision of a building  
  • Material changes  

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