Thinking of a house extension? Do you actually need Planning Permission?

Now that the Festive Season is over, many will be turning their attentions to planning home improvements for the year ahead.  However, for many people, the thought of having to go through a lengthy and costly planning application process can be enough to stop that dream kitchen extension even getting onto paper in the first place. But do you even need to obtain a specific planning permission…?

On the whole, any development of land, whether it be an extension, change of use or some other minor works on the property will require planning permission. However, often the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (“GDPO”) can offer relief via permitted development rights, by providing an alternative planning route for development in limited circumstances.

These permitted development rights are of course subject to certain exceptions, limitations and conditions, but where applicable, planning permission is deemed to have been granted without the need to even submit a planning application to the Local Planning Authority.

So in what situations do Permitted Development Rights apply?

There are basically four situations where these permitted rights can save huge amounts of time and cost by dispensing with the need for a planning application:

  1. Development of a Dwelling House – this includes home extensions subject to certain size limits;
  2. Minor operations – such as construction of boundary walls and fences;
  3. Changes of Use – certain changes of use can be permitted if the relevant criteria are met;
  4. Temporary buildings and uses – this can also include a change of use or a development which is only temporary in nature.

Recently the Government has announced plans to begin a consultation process with a view to adding to this list, by introducing a 5th category which would permit extensions upwards without the requirement for a full planning application.  This would no doubt be a welcome concession for those considering a loft extension.

Relying on the permitted development rights outlined above can of course be very risky without appropriate advice.  Getting it wrong could involve the local Planning Authority requiring a full planning application to be made retrospectively, or more worryingly, the issue by them of an injunction requiring you to stop works and return the development to its original state.

If you would like further information on permitted development rights or if you would like to discuss any other planning related matters then please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Guest Walker Commercial Property Team on 01904 624903.

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