Time is running out on permitted development rights

There's uncertainty over the changes to permitted development rights after May 2019. Julia Riddle explains the situation
by Julia Riddle
16th March 2019

Permitted development (PD) rights enable you to improve and extend your property without the need for planning permission.

There are certain amounts of development which have been established under these rights for many years, including; single and double storey rear extensions, loft conversions, front porches, outbuildings, solar panels, new windows and doors.

The Planning Portal is a useful resource in finding out what is covered within these rights.

You should always check if you have permitted development rights on your property before progressing with any work without planning permission.

There are occasions where PD rights do not apply, for example if your property is a listed building or in a conservation area. It is also quite common for these rights to be restricted on new build properties.

You must also always remember that the provisions apply to the original building – which is that as it stood in 1948 or when constructed, whichever is the later.

So even if you haven’t extended your house, if someone else carried out works previously, it still counts towards the extent of permitted development which you might be able to achieve.

Provided you do have PD rights, they can provide significant opportunities to extend and alter your house, without being constrained by design or having to go through a full planning application process.

What is the relevance of May 2019?

The established permitted development rights were reviewed in 2012 and relaxed to further encourage the development of existing properties (and to lessen the burden on local planning authorities in determining planning applications).

These relaxed rules enabled more flexibility in:

  • The change of use of various use classes, most notably offices and agricultural buildings to residential use, without the need for full planning permission
  • Extension rights for existing houses

Following a further revision in 2015, and a new Order in 2016, these rights were put in place until May 2019.

These relaxed rules allow for significantly larger extensions to properties, going from 4m to 8m for a single storey rear extension to a detached house and 3m to 6m on a semi-detached house.

They have been deemed to allow up to 75% more space to be added to a property without the need for planning permission, often in circumstances where this amount of development would not normally be allowed through a planning application.

These rights have not been without their complexities and there is a still a process which needs to be gone through with the council to secure them, but they have doubtless provided greater opportunities.

Significantly, however, these extended rights are due to expire at the end of May 2019.

It is unlikely that one would be able to secure any extensions under these rights in the necessary timescales now, but, most notably, any development secured under these provisions needs to be completed by the end of May 2019.

If you have a project which benefits from confirmation that it can be undertaken under PD rights, the pressure is on to undertake these works as soon and as quickly as possible to meet these requirements.

What will happen next?

There is currently no certainty as to what will happen to the extended permitted development rights after this date.

Consultation was held in late 2018 and early 2019 in relation to the future of PD rights, but there has been no further announcement from the Government in this regard.

In the context of a national priority to deliver and improve homes, it would be hoped that a positive announcement would be made shortly, and we will keep Build It readers updated on any progress.

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