In brief, Permitted Development is that work that you can carry out to your house without requiring Planning Permission. The rules changed the other year and was heralded with a fanfare by Governments as a new simplified set of rules that would result in fewer Planning Applications. Oh yer! I can tell you that our very first project under the new regime needed Planning Permission but it would not have done under the old set of rules. However that is not the worst of it. As complicated as the old rules were, we ( those working in the field) were familiar with them and there had been many test cases to iron out the anomalies and help clarify matters. What we are dealing with now is a very sloppy piece of legal drafting that is being interpreted by one planning authority in one way and another in another way.
Building Tectonics advises that the Local Planning Department should always be consulted to see if Planning Permission is required. We nearly always do this because in addition to the vagaries of the new rules, a planning authority can apply to have your Permitted development Rights removed. This is done where the local authority believes an area is special, and the public cannot be trusted to build with taste and sensitivity.
Central Government advice actually encourages applicants to make a pre-planning enquiry, as we do, and most local authorities. However some Planning Authorities are now charging for this consultation which is a bit rich and I believe deplorable. In these cash struck times we may see more councils doing this. It goes against the spirit of things and we should harrang Central Government to stop this.
As a summary I would repeat that Permitted Development is that which can be done without Planning Permission. Lastly I would like to stress that just because you need Planning Permission does not mean you will not get it. I have had clients that have gone to great lengths to come up with a design that can be built under Permitted Development and yet a much better approach would have been to design a much nicer extension that would require Planning Permission. In most cases a well designed extension will obtain approval.
Please also remember that building Regulation Approval is an entirely different thing and is not affected by any on the above, so this separate approval will probably be needed anyway.
Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.