Permitted development rights: a simple guide

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Permitted development rights: a simple guide

Permitted Development rights are granted under General Development Planning Orders (GDPOs) but they can give implied planning consent to carry out certain types of building development. For work to be carried out under Permitted Development rights, it must strictly comply with the current criteria for the area where your property is located. As the rules can be quite complicated, it is always wise to check with the planning department at your local authority who will advise whether your intended project requires planning permission.

There are a few points to consider. Any space added by a previous owner of your property since 1948 counts towards your Permitted Development rights. Also, if you are considering a major development by planning to build a new home on the existing site of your current property, there are conditions. If your new home is going to be larger than the previous property, then your Permitted Development rights could be restricted, or removed, on condition of granting planning permission.

Although Bromley & Gaines will be happy to liaise with your local planning officer on your behalf, many local authorities offer a consultancy service that, for a small fee, will confirm in writing whether you need planning permission.

Planning permission

For most extensive, and some minor, building works, you will need planning permission. This permission is normally the responsibility of your local authority. To find out whether your project will need planning permission, you should seek the advice of your local planning officer before commencing work on the development; although Bromley & Gaines can liaise with your local authority on your behalf.

At one time, under Permitted Development rights, if your home had already been extended, you would be unlikely to be granted permission to convert your loft as well. This was because volume limitations were applied to the entire house. This has since changed, and you are now allowed to build an extension as well as a loft conversion, although you should not assume that strict planning regulations in such cases are waived.

Conservation areas

If your property falls within a conservation area, additional types of planning permission will apply. Special rules must be considered if you intend to demolish any part of the property. In most cases, this applies to buildings that exceed 115 cubic metres in volume, but there are exceptions. You may also need planning permission if you wish to remove a fence that overlooks a public space, or private property. There are no ‘hard and fast’ rules concerning planning permission, in terms of volume and height, so it is always advisable to consult with your local authority planning department before commencing any alterations or development work.

Listed building consent

For listed buildings, there are additional planning rules that must be rigidly observed. This includes the need to obtain planning permission to significantly alter or demolish even a small part of the building. It is a criminal offence to make changes to any listed building without having planning permission and even when permission has been granted, the proposed changed must comply with any existing historical, or architectural features

To read the Government legislation covering alterations to listed buildings and those in conservation areas, please click here.


Providing you follow the correct procedures, planning applications are not usually turned down. However, your local authority may attach conditions to your application that it must put in writing. You will also have the option of resubmitting your application, without further charge, within 12-months of the decision of your first application. If, for any reason, your application is rejected by your local authority, you still have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State to have your application reconsidered. You can also appeal to the Secretary of State if the council does not give you a decision within eight-weeks. There is never any certainty however that a planning application that has been refused by a local authority will be reversed on appeal.

Please see The Planning Portal for more information.

Other protections

Planning regulations have been devised to cover all kinds of applications and they are not always as straightforward as you may think. Bromley & Gaines has, over the years, gained considerable experience in dealing with all kinds of planning applications and we can be relied upon to assist you whenever required.

There are numerous examples of areas where specific planning regulations may apply, though the majority are likely to be straightforward. Examples of when applications might become more complicated include; If the area occupied by your home is a particularly picturesque location such as a national park; of there are protected, animals or plants that might be put at risk by your development. If your property is within a designated green belt you may find planning permission refused.
Conclusions regarding Permitted Development rights

With Permitted Development rights, there can sometimes be an assumption that you can build whatever you want, whenever you want. This is, of course, a misconception and in many cases, you may still need to obtain planning permission, which, in some cases can carry restrictions. The most important aspect of Permitted Development rights is that whenever there is any doubt over what you can and cannot do, you should seek advice from a trusted professional before deciding to go ahead with your project. Bromley & Gaines has vast experience of successfully obtaining planning permission for many different types of building; therefore, we are able to assist you during every stage of the application process.