What is Permitted Development?

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted Development fundamentally consents to someone making alterations and additions to their buildings without needing Planning Permission. 

A set of standards and some typical alterations are considered as being ‘pre-approved’ by planning. Naturally, this includes minor porches, certain rooflights etc. However, crucially, some fairly simple extensions and changes of use also fall under the Permitted Development conditions. 

There is an abundance of information on the Planning Portal website that goes into these more accurately than this overview. 

The most useful document for homeowners seeking alterations is the technical guidance document that goes into more detail on each of the main criteria. 

The planning website is a jungle of useful information, but it has such a vast database that it can become a bit overwhelming and most of the information is also only available to members who pay an annual fee. Nevertheless, the most useful commentary on homeowner Permitted Development is the visual guidance, of which there is a shortened version for non-members. It is a quick and easy reference for additional info to those on the Planning Portal site. 

Essentially, a single storey rear extension below 4m in total height and 2.5m at the eaves is likely to be considered PD, and can be built without full planning permission. It should be built from similar materials to the main house. There are some other limiting factors but usually, a rear extension of this sort can be achieved under Permitted Development. 


A simple loft conversion can also fall under Permitted Development A basic loft conversion can also fall under Permitted Development provided you meet the authorising criteria and are not a ‘designated’ building or land (Listed, Conservation Area plus others etc). Provided you meet the authorising criteria and are not a ‘designated’ building or land (Listed, Conservation Area plus others etc). 

Athtech Designs always recommends seeking a Certificate of Lawful Use from the council for anything that is greater than the size of a porch. It can take as long as applying for Planning Permission; however, the council can only discuss your application if it meets the Permitted Development criteria or not, and no other factors that usually influence a Planning application decision such as appearance, scale, overlooking etc. 

The Certificate of Lawful Use fundamentally is a document stating that the development does not need planning permission and is within the Permitted Development standards. It is a good risk-reducing file to have should any issues arise, and solicitors will ask for one when you come to move. 

Permitted Development rights can be removed by the council using special powers called an ‘Article 4 Direction’ and Permitted Development is considerably reduced or removed if you live on ‘Designated Land’ a Conservation Area or in a Listed Building. 

A Conservation Area to have the full weight it deserves however needs an Article 4 Direction to prevent people changing windows to UPVC or taking down low boundary walls etc. otherwise some of these can be done still while within a Conservation Area, but do check (and consider the wider visual impact) before carrying out any such work. Permitted Development is not possible on a Listed Building (even if included in the Listed by virtue of being within the curtilage of a Listed Building) or flats.

What is Permitted Development?

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