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FAQs - Permitted Development

You may not even need planning permission!

Most houses throughout England have permitted development rights which allow some alterations and extensions without needing planning permission. 


Permitted development (PD) refers to works that the Government has deemed to be acceptable in certain circumstances without the need to apply for planning permission.


A few basic rules of thumb:

  • Flats do not have permitted development rights.


All changes to the external appearance of a flat will require planning permission. If your property is a flat (ie. Not a house) then you will always need planning permission for changes that affect the external appearance of the building.


This includes replacing windows unless they are 100% like for like between the old and new. We are often asked whether the changing of single glazed windows to double glazed windows on a flat needs planning permission. The answer inevitably is yes as it is very hard to get double glazed windows that have exactly the same proportions (thickness of frames and detailing) as single glazed. Although technology is always improving, these slightest differences between the old and new, will mean that you need planning permission.

  • Very, very minor changes like putting up a burglar alarm box don’t need planning permission as they do not materially alter the appearance of the building.

  • Conservatories do sometimes need planning permission.


We regularly hear and read on other websites that conservatories are exempt from planning permission.


This simply is not true!


A conservatory is treated like any other extension so whether it needs planning permission or not is dependent on its size and location on your property.

  • If your house is a listed building, you will most likely need planning permission for any external changes and you will always need listed building consent for internal and external changes.

Listed buildings refer to everything on and in the listed building.


We often hear ‘it is just the front that is listed’. This isn’t true!


The whole building is listed even extensions that may have been added at a later date. As soon as you extend a listed building, the new extensions then form part of the listing.



So what may be possible without the need for planning permission?


For many properties, quite a lot!


  • You may be able extend to the rear and side of your house.


  • You may be able to go upwards either into your roof space or to add a whole other (or even two!) floors above your roof.


  • You may be able to install a driveway, a porch, a garden studio and/or a swimming pool.


  • Items like skylights and new windows may also be allowed.


There are limitations to what may be allowed and these rights don’t apply to every house in every situation but people are often quite surprised at how many changes can be made without any formal planning control.

If you would like an assessment of what may be possible at your property, please get in touch with ADL Planning for a personal quote.

Properties with special controls like Conservation Areas

If your property is in a Conservation Area your permitted development rights are slightly restricted, although not as much as some people think.


  • You can’t add any volume to a roof in a Conservation Area so a dormer window always requires planning permission.


  • You cannot extend to a side elevation of a house in a Conservation Area. This includes wraparound extensions.


  • New windows, skylights, porches, garden buildings, swimming pools and rear extensions are all possible using permitted development rights for properties in Conservation Areas.

What next?

A really useful Government guide to what can and can’t be done using permitted development rights is available here.


It has some handy drawings that help to explain things but if you are still unsure what you can do at your property, please do get in touch with ADL Planning for an assessment and a fee quote. 


Even if you know your works are PD, would strongly advise that you seek formal confirmation from your Council that the changes you want to make are permitted development before you do any building works.


You do this by submitting a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development (CLPUD) to your Council.


This paperwork is the only legal confirmation available to prove that planning permission isn’t required. You will need this if you wish to sell your property in the future.

If you need help deciding whether you could build using PD rights, please get in touch with ADL Planning for an assessment and fee quote.

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