Planning Permission: Permitted and Non-Permitted Structures


Planning Permission: Permitted and Non-Permitted Structures

November 16, 2020

Construction drawingsExtending your property comes with its fair share of confusing and overwhelming information. Sometimes you need planning permission, and other times you are covered under your Permitted Development rights. 

If you don’t know which you need for making structural changes to your property, we explain what constitutes as a permitted or non-permitted structure, and what it means if you’ve got it and when Permitted Development is no longer viable, and you require planning permission.

What is Planning Permission?

Firstly, in its simplest terms, planning permission is gaining permission to carry out certain types of building work at home. After applying for planning permission via your local council, you will either be refused, granted, or granted subject to conditions. If you are considering extending your property or carrying out any building work, check with your local council on whether you need permission before continuing.

Some building work, however, can be carried out without applying for planning permission, and this is what’s known as permitted development rights.

Double story house extension in progress

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted Development is a rule that allows you to carry out certain types of development, extension, or building work at your home without planning permission. This implied consent notice could save you time and money in the long run if you want to make significant home improvements.

In fact, if you’re a homeowner looking to improve your property, Permitted Development rights can bring significant benefits to maximise the potential of new investment. Just make sure that you check in advance of starting the work that it qualifies as Permitted Development, because you don’t want to undertake any building work without being crystal clear on what regulations are in place, else it could be a costly mistake.

The principal order is the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, and it is there that you will find an explanatory memorandum on the details and legislative background policy. This was updated in May 2019, so ensure you are up to date on the most recent changes if you’re well versed with the original statutory methodology.

All Permitted Development requirements apply to the dwelling as it was originally built, or as it stood as on 1st July 1948, and they apply to all houses (unless exempt as stated above) and exclude flats, maisonettes, and commercial buildings.

What Restrictions Come Under Permitted Development?

There are always restrictions to be mindful of with housing developments, and so there are permitted and non-permitted structures, as well as other constraints to consider. For example, if your house is a listed building or is located in a Designated or Conservation Area, or an Area of Outstanding Beauty, then the Article 4 Direction places further restrictions to preserve and protect the area; usually hereby removing the Permitted Development rights of homeowners.

There are also restrictions in place if you’re planning on demolishing your home and rebuilding it to make it larger than the original building. 

What Structures Do I Need Planning Permission For?

Planning Permission is typically required for building a property from scratch, work to a listed building or particularly large extensions.

You will also need planning permission for home improvement projects such as:

  • Adding balconies or raised platforms
  • Paving or constructing a driveway from non-porous materials (porous materials would be Permitted Development)

In the UK, it costs to submit a planning permission application (between £200 and £500) and expires after three years, so only apply for planning permission if your project is ready to start and can be completed within the 36 month period.

Modern town house

What’s Structures are Considered Permitted Under Permitted Development?

The good news is that most extensions are considered Permitted Development, so you won’t need to obtain planning permission. This is, of course, also subject to some restrictions. We cover restrictions to your house extension in our article, exploring the different types of house extensions.

As well as these modestly sized house extensions, Permitted Development usually covers:

  • Garages
  • Loft extensions and conversions
  • Internal fixtures such as windows and doors
  • Adding solar panels
  • Fences and gates
  • Internal and external walls
  • Building a porch

House with solar panels against a blue sky

Are Non-Permitted Structures Illegal?

If you want to erect a non-permitted structure, you will need to obtain planning permission. If the structure is refused under planning permission and is not considered Permitted Development, then the structure cannot be built. If you continue to undertake the work without the correct permits, an enforcement notice can be ordered for you to undo all the changes you’ve made, with no financial compensation. It is not worth it to build a structure without the right permits; it’s a very costly risk.

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