Permitted Development Rights Explained

At 7DB, we understand when and where to utilise Permitted Development Rights.


Permitted development rights are a set of rules that allow you to make specific changes to your property without having to apply for full householder planning permission. Permitted development rights could be a great way to save time and money on home improvements, but it’s essential to understand the rules before starting work. In our professional opinion, it will likely only cause you great difficulty as a homeowner.

We at 7db always recommend not proceeding under PD rules – unless there is a specific legal reasoning.

To enable you as a homeowner and to protect your interests, we do not charge separate fees for a Permitted Development rights direction or a full application – a householder application. We have a standard fee as an Architect and inform you of your options and clearly recommend how to proceed through the planning process.

At a minimum, we would recommend that we lodge for a Lawful Development Certificate – or whatever is the equivalent in your local authority. It does not make sense to risk your money and time without legal clarity; after all, this is your family home.

In this blog post, we’ll look at Permitted Development rights, what changes you can make under them, and how to determine if your property is eligible. We’ll also provide some tips on how to make the most of Permitted Development rights.


What are Permitted Development rights?

Permitted Development rights are rules that allow you to make specific changes to your property without having to apply for planning permission. The government sets these rules and vary depending on the property type and location.

Some common examples of Permitted Development rights explained include:

  • Building an extension to your home
  • Converting a loft or garage into a living space
  • Subdividing your property into two or more homes
  • Installing solar panels or a wind turbine

What changes can I make under Permitted Development rights?

The exact changes you can make under Permitted Development rights will depend on the type of property you own and the location of your property. You can find a complete list of Permitted Development rights on the government website.

However, some common changes that you can make include:

  • Building an extension to your home
  • Converting a loft or garage into a living space
  • Subdividing your property into two or more homes
  • Installing solar panels or a wind turbine

Permitted Development Outbuildings

In the UK, Permitted Development rights allow you to construct specific outbuildings without planning permission. However, there are specific criteria and limitations you must adhere to. Here are some Permitted Development outbuilding ideas in the UK:

  1. Garden Office: You can build a small office space in your garden for remote work or as a dedicated workspace. Ensure the height does not exceed 2.5 meters and the floor area remains within 15 square meters.
  2. Summerhouse: Construct a delightful summerhouse for relaxation and leisure activities. It can serve as a retreat, art studio, or a place to unwind. Remember to stay within the height and floor area restrictions.
  3. Gym or Fitness Studio: Convert your outbuilding into a home gym or fitness studio. It’s a great way to stay active and pursue your fitness goals without leaving your property.
  4. Playroom or Hobby Room: Build a space where children can play freely or indulge in hobbies such as crafts, music, or painting. This can help keep your main house tidy and provide a dedicated area for their activities.
  5. Storage Shed: If you need extra storage space for tools, garden equipment, or bicycles, consider constructing a storage shed. Ensure it’s not too large and blends well with the overall aesthetics of your garden.
  6. Workshop: A workshop can be an ideal addition if you enjoy DIY projects or have a specific craft. You can pursue woodworking, metalworking, or any other hobby that requires a dedicated workspace.

Remember to always check the specific limitations and requirements for Permitted Development rights in your local area, as they can vary. Additionally, it’s essential to consider the impact on neighbouring properties and follow any additional regulations or guidelines set by your local council.

Permitted Development Side Extensions:

In the UK, Permitted Development rights also cover certain types of side extensions, allowing you to extend your property without the need for planning permission. Here are some ideas for Permitted Development side extensions:

  1. Single-Storey Side Extension: You can extend your ground floor to the side of your property, typically up to half the width of the original house. This can create additional living space, such as a larger kitchen, dining area, or utility room.
  2. Double-Storey Side Extension: You can construct a double-storey side extension if you require more space. This can provide extra bedrooms, a larger home office, or additional living areas. However, there are specific height restrictions, and it’s essential to maintain the visual appearance of your property.
  3. Garage Conversion: Converting an existing garage into a living space is often covered under Permitted Development rights. This can be an excellent option for creating a home office, a playroom, or an additional bedroom. However, it’s essential to ensure the conversion meets building regulations.
  4. Wraparound Extension: A wraparound extension combines a rear extension with a side extension, often creating a larger open-plan living area or a more spacious kitchen. Ensure that the overall size and design remain within the Permitted Development limits.
  5. Utility or Storage Room: A side extension can also be used to add functional spaces such as a utility room, pantry, or storage area. These additions can help declutter the main house and provide convenient storage solutions.

Permitted Development Rear Extensions:

In the UK, Permitted Development rights also apply to rear extensions, allowing you to extend your property at the rear without planning permission. Here are some ideas for Permitted Development rear extensions:

  1. Single-Storey Rear Extension: You can add a single-storey rear extension to create additional living space on the ground floor. This can expand your kitchen, dining area, or living room. Ensure to adhere to the maximum height and depth limitations specified by Permitted Development rights.
  2. Open-Plan Kitchen Extension: A popular choice is to extend the rear of your property to create an open-plan kitchen and dining area. This can enhance the flow of your home, provide more space for entertaining, and bring in natural light. Consider including bi-fold or sliding doors to connect the indoor and outdoor spaces.
  3. Rear Extension with a Garden Room: Combine a rear extension with a garden room or conservatory to create a versatile space that blurs the boundaries between indoors and outdoors. This can be a cosy lounge area, a bright and airy workspace, or a relaxation zone with views of your garden.
  4. Double-Height Rear Extension: If you have high ceilings or want to create a unique architectural feature, a double-height rear extension could be an option. This design can provide an impressive and spacious interior, perfect for a grand living room or a light-filled atrium.
  5. Bedroom or En-suite Extension: Extend your property at the rear to create an additional bedroom or an en-suite bathroom. This can be especially useful if you need more space for a growing family or desire a private sanctuary within your home.
  6. Glass Box Extension: For a modern and minimalist look, consider a glass box extension at the rear. This design maximises natural light and provides uninterrupted views of your garden. It can be used as a dining area, a lounge, or a sunroom.

How do I determine if my property is eligible for Permitted Development rights?

Using the government’s online planning checker, you can find out if your property is eligible for Permitted Development rights. Enter your postcode, and the checker will show you what changes you can make to your property without planning permission.

Permitted Development in a conservation area:

Permitted Development in a conservation area refers to the specific rules and regulations that apply to property development within conservation areas. These areas are recognised for their special architectural or historic interest, and their preservation is a priority to maintain their character and unique qualities.

While Permitted Development rights typically provide certain freedoms for homeowners to extend or alter their properties without planning permission, these rights are more limited in conservation areas. The aim is to ensure that any changes made to buildings in these areas are sensitive to their historic and architectural significance.

Here are some critical points regarding Permitted Development in a conservation area:

  1. Planning Permission: Many alterations or extensions that would typically fall under Permitted Development elsewhere may require planning permission in a conservation area. This includes changes such as significant extensions, alterations to roofs, or the installation of certain types of windows.
  2. Article 4 Directions: Local planning authorities may issue Article 4 Directions in conservation areas, which withdraw some or all Permitted Development rights. This means that specific types of work typically allowed without planning permission may require consent in these areas.
  3. Design Considerations: When considering any development or alterations in a conservation area, particular attention is given to the design and visual impact of the proposed changes. Local authorities will assess whether the plans preserve or enhance the area’s character, architectural features, and historical context.
  4. Conservation Area Consent: In addition to planning permission, specific consent called Conservation Area Consent may be required for works that affect the character of a conservation area. This includes demolishing buildings, removing or altering boundary walls, and cutting down certain trees.
  5. Consultation: Local planning authorities usually engage in a consultation process when assessing applications in conservation areas. They may seek input from organisations such as Historic England, local conservation groups, and residents to ensure the proposed changes align with the area’s preservation objectives.

How can I make the most of Permitted Development rights?

Permitted Development rights can be a great way to save time and money on home improvements. However, it’s essential to understand the rules before you start work. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of Permitted Development rights:

  • Check the rules carefully before you start work.
  • Make sure you follow all the relevant building regulations.
  • Get planning permission if you need it.
  • Be aware of the impact your changes will have on your neighbours.

Permitted Development rights can be a great way to improve your home. However, it’s essential to understand the rules before you start work. By following the tips in this blog post, you can make sure you make the most of your Permitted Development rights and avoid any problems.

You may be thinking, hey, what’s the problem here? The issues are due to the interpretation of central government law-making, filtering down through the local authority system.

You don’t want to be caught in the political crossfire of the system of the UK related to Permitted Development rights and planning permission.

No one wants to be a test case in law through a Permitted Development rights application going wrong.

Permitted Development rights change depending on where you are in the country and any local pressures influencing your chances. Such as being outside a local boundary division, a conservation area, or a housing estate. These factors can result in Permitted Development rights being removed within your area – something you may not even know about!


Permitted Development Rights Guide from 7DB:

Don’t do it!

If we have advised you on the submission, we will have defined a particular reason in local determination policy specific to an item within your proposals. For instance, you may want to change the size of a proposed dormer that has already received full consent – this can be done with relative safety.

When we make a Permitted Development rights application, we will explain why we would advise on such a particular route through the local process.

Local government has interpreted the idea of PD rights differently than the central government ever intended. How the processing of applications would be determined was never foreseen. The planning system has been complicated by a system change that was intended to simplify everything on a local level.

You can access the original law online and look at the clauses within – the lack of clarity and forethought gives you an insight as to why there is so much interpretation required at a local authority level.

The original lawmakers had in their mind a house context that is not readily available to most homeowners. For instance, we are not in a detached country house with significant distances from our plot boundaries. So local authorities have decided on how to interpret when we propose a small, modest rear extension to a semi-detached house within an estate. Where the local council struggles for a housing estate to understand or interpret, they remove your rights entirely concerning any form of Permitted Development checklist. So please don’t assume you are okay with your garden room, home office, or house extension plans and proposals.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team to guide and advise on your Permitted Development rights in the UK.

We are here for you as your Architect for your planning consent issues, home remodelling, and refurbishment projects.

We are happy to advise and protect you through the design and planning process, whether a self-build or modest transformative change with your home improvement plans.

Our ‘dolls house’ process…

The solution you need is our dolls house process, the initial design and visualisation stage that explores what’s possible and opens up new ideas.