Planning Permission

Permitted Development Rights

You can perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called "permitted development rights".

They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Government. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Similarly, commercial properties have different permitted development rights to dwellings.

In some areas of the country, known generally as 'designated areas', permitted development rights are more restricted. For example, if you live in:

  • a Conservation Area
  • a National Park
  • an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • a World Heritage Site or
  • the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

You will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas. There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.

The Planning Portal's general advice is that you should contact your local planning authority and discuss your proposal before any work begins. They will be able to inform you of any reason why the development may not be permitted and if you need to apply for planning permission for all or part of the work.

A planning consultant may help with the smooth running of your project and guide you on your permitted development requirements. To find an accurate consultancy quote, explore Studio Charrette's calculators.  

Permitted Development Rights withdrawn

You should also note that the local planning authority may have removed some of your permitted development rights by issuing an 'Article 4' direction. This will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one.

Article 4 directions are made when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas. You will probably know if your property is affected by such a direction, but you can check with the local planning authority if you are not sure.

Please note: Houses and flats created through permitted development rights (including changes of use) usually cannot subsequently use householder permitted development rights for additional development (e.g. an extension). Planning Permission is usually required. You are advised to contact your local planning authority to discuss any such proposals before starting work to determine what additional permission are required.

Prior approval

Most permitted development rights are subject to conditions and limitations.

One such condition on certain classes of permitted development is the need to apply to the Local Planning Authority for its 'Prior Approval'; or to determine if its 'Prior Approval' will be required.

This allows the Local Planning Authority to consider the proposals, their likely impacts in regard to certain factors (e.g. transport and highways) and how these may be mitigated.

Find out more about the ‘Prior Approval’ consent type.

Protected development

From the start of August 2021, changes to legislation come into force that, in a few specific circumstances, mean that what was to be considered eligible as permitted development up to the end of July 2021, will no longer be.

In these circumstances, Government has implemented a provision that classifies these proposals as ‘protected development’ to ensure that for a further year, until the end of July 2022, they can continue to be considered eligible for permitted development rights.

This is achieved by allowing ‘protected development’ proposals to utilise the legislation as it stood prior to the August 2021 changes.

By doing so, it will allow these proposals to begin (or for relevant prior approval applications to be submitted) up to the end of July 2022, and be progressed to completion on that basis.

My proposal is ‘protected development’, what should I do?

The Planning Portal content and application service will be updated to comply with the August 2021 permitted development changes.

However, we also recognise that certain proposals will qualify for the ‘protected development’ provision.

As per our general advice, it is recommended you discuss your proposals with the Local Planning Authority, in this case, to confirm if the ‘protected development’ provision applies.

If it does, and an application for prior approval needs to be made, we are covering this off in the content of our prior approval applications as well as maintaining several redundant types of prior approval application that can continue to be used in such cases.

Legislation

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 is the principal order.

The Order sets out classes of development for which a grant of planning permission is automatically given, provided that no restrictive limitation or condition is attached or that the development is exempt from the permitted development rights.

An explanatory memorandum (PDF) is also available that details the purpose, legislative background and policy context of the order.

The order has been subject to numerous amendments, view details of all such amendments.