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Permitted Development Rights - What You Need to Know

on Thursday, 03 January 2019.

Planning permission is required when undertaking any development on land. The process of obtaining planning permission from the local planning authority (LPA) can be long and costly for applicants.

Permitted development rights offer some relief by providing an alternative planning route for development in limited circumstances. Where permitted development rights arise, planning permission is deemed to have been granted without the need to submit a planning application to the LPA.

Permitted development rights only apply to a handful of developments and they are subject to a number of exceptions, limitations and conditions. Where permitted development rights are the basis of planning permission for a development, it is important to be sure that permitted development rights do actually apply to the development.

When Do Permitted Development Rights Apply?

Permitted development rights are regulated by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (GDPO) and are granted in the following four situations, subject to exclusions.

  • Development of a dwelling house - this includes, for example, house extensions under a certain size.
  • Minor operations - for example, construction of boundary walls or fences.
  • Changes of use - in certain circumstances, the law permits the change of use of a building from one use to another.
  • Temporary buildings and uses - this includes a development or a change of use which is only temporary.

The government has recently announced plans to open a consultation to introduce a new permitted development right. The proposed new right will allow property owners to extend buildings upwards which will see the GDPO be updated.

LPA Controls Over Permitted Development Rights

Where a development is permitted under the GDPO, the LPA may still retain control of planning permission being granted.

  • Article 4 - an LPA can issue an Article 4 direction removing all permitted development rights in a specific area. Before relying on permitted development rights, you should check whether the LPA has issued an Article 4 direction in the development area.
  • Prior Approval - the deemed grant of planning permission under the GDPO can be conditional on the prior approval of the LPA. Depending on the type of development, the LPA is able to evaluate a number of factors relating to the proposed development. The LPA may reject a prior approval application on grounds such as, flooding risk and others. The LPA may also refuse an application by disagreeing with the applicant that permitted development rights apply in the first place.

Relying on permitted development rights can be risky without appropriate advice. The potential consequences of getting it wrong are the LPA requiring a full planning application submission or, potentially, an injunction to stop works and return the development to its original state.


If you would like further information on permitted development rights or would like to discuss any other planning related matters, please contact David Bird in our Planning and Infrastructure Law team on 0117 314 5382.