Building plans

Planning application vs permitted development

The recent changes to permitted development rules for home extensions – covered here in last month’s article – have got many people thinking about what they can and can’t do when it comes to improving their homes. While the majority can probably do what they need to within their permitted development rights there are those who may need planning permission instead. This month we look more closely at the differences between the two to help you determine which best applies to you and to help you to better plan and budget for any work.

Permitted development rights

As we explored last month, permitted development rights are those granted by law to householders to enable them to make changes to and extend their properties. They don’t apply to flats or maisonettes but, rather, to detached, semi-detached, and terraced properties.

Under permitted development rights changes can be made to a property that do not exceed those set out in the legislation. The most common of those include rear or side extensions, which must not exceed a height of 4m, and a distance of 8m and 6m from a detached or terraced house respectively. Overall, no more than half the area around the original structure is to be built on.

Additionally, if you have bought a property that has already had a previous extension any additional work that you may want to do will have to take that into account so as not to exceed the parameters set by the law.

Instead of a planning permissions process, homeowners will apply for a certificate of lawful development (CLD) which requires a consultation process with neighbours to be undertaken to ensure there are no objections.

Planning permission

Planning permission may be a slightly lengthier process, as well as a more expensive one, but allows for more changes to be made. It also allows you to extend a property beyond what may have already been done or alter an existing extension. It also enables you to build a new structure on land you own or make substantial changes to the internal layout of your home. Finally, it is the only way of seeking permission to make any changes in the case of certain listed properties, in or around conservation areas and areas of special protection.

Many may choose to go down the permitted development route based on the associated costs and timescales, compared to seeking full planning permission. However, it is worth bearing in mind that the latter offers much more leeway in terms of design and changes that can be made. While permission can be refused, working closely with the planning authority from the outset is more likely to mean that you end up with something closer to what you had in mind than nothing at all. They are well placed to advise on everything – from what is permissible, to the potential for and likelihood of objections and how to overcome them, down to materials, to ensure a successful outcome.

Whatever your project is, whether it needs planning permission or just a certificate of lawful development, Parsons Joinery can help you construct it. Find us on 01273 814870 or drop us a line at and we’d be delighted to help.