Planning a War in Suburbia?
How much do you trust your neighbours? Enough to know that they won’t suddenly build a granny annex in their garden without your knowledge or consent?
There’s been much discussion about the recent government announcement to “relax” the regulation around Permitted Development rights but what does that mean for you? Are you likely to find yourself at loggerheads with your neighbours?
Briefly, we are being told that, for a limited period (currently 3 years), owners of detached houses will be able build single-storey extensions of up to 8 metres, to any design that they like. The effect on the adjacent garden is irrelevant – there is to be no input from the local planners. For semi detached the permitted development will be less at 6 metres – this is still double what is currently allowed.
If you are looking to extend, this might be good news for you. However, before you start any kind of build, it is critical that you understand your Permitted Development rights.
Starting with the basics, Permitted Development (PD) is implied planning consent to carry out certain classes of development without requiring a formal planning application.
Currently allowable minor works (subject to design constraints; e.g. porch has to be less than 3m³, rooflights and dormers must not face the highway, etc.) are:
Building a porch, carrying out internal alterations, converting and occupying the loft space, installing microgeneration equipment (not wind turbines), installing satellite dishes & antenna, putting in rooflights or dormer windows, new doors or windows and extend the back of your home as per the build figures above.
Extensions: Do’s and Dont’s
• There are height restrictions on extensions but they boil down to a single storey extension not being higher than 4m in height to the ridge and the eaves, and ridge heights of any extension not being higher than the existing property.
• Two storey extensions must not be closer than 7m to the rear boundary.
• It must be built in the same or similar material to the existing dwelling.
• Extensions must not go forward of the building line of the original dwelling.
• In Designated Areas side extensions require planning permission and all rear extensions must be single storey.
• An extension must not result in more than half the garden being covered.
Additionally, you can construct all sorts of outbuildings for the use and enjoyment of the home so long as they do not cover more than 50% of the garden space. Outbuildings must not be forward of the original line of the property and it would be wise to check with your local district council in terms of height and proximity to your house to make sure that what you are planning is not viewed as an “extension” to the house.
So what you need to know:
PD rights apply only to a ‘private dwelling house’ as originally constructed, or as the dwelling stood at 1st April 1948.
Flats and listed buildings are excluded and properties in Designated Areas, such as Conservation Areas & green belt have restrictions on their PD rights.
PD rights can be applied as often as you like, but the total allowances for extensions can only be used up once and are then exhausted.
If you are buying an existing dwelling, it is incumbent upon you to investigate what if any PD rights have been used up or whether or not they have been modified or withdrawn.
Although express planning permission is not required for development covered by PD rights, Building Regulations approval may well be necessary in many cases.
Many organisations such as the Federation of Master Builders complain that far from making life easier for the home owner, PD rights and their interpretation on a Council by Council basis have made things more complex. ClearPlan would advise if you are unsure about any aspect of these rules, speak to your local authority. Many now offer a consultancy service for a small fee, and will confirm in writing whether or not a planning application is required.
Will this relaxation of PD fundamentally effect growth of homeowner re-developments in the UK? Our guess would be probably not – it’s not planning that’s holding development back, it’s money.