House of Commons Library

Permitted Development Rights

Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Permitted development rights allow changes to be made to buildings and use of land without needing planning permission. New permitted development rights are being introduced to allow for petroleum exploration and for taller mobile phone masts. There is also a review of permitted development rights in rural areas. These are set out further in this paper.

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This briefing paper applies to England only. For information about permitted development in the other UK countries see section 8 of the joint Library briefing paper Comparison of the planning systems in the four UK countries: 2016 update.

What are permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights are basically rights to make certain changes to a building without the need to apply for planning permission. These derive from a general planning permission granted by Parliament, rather than from permission granted by the local planning authority.

Removing permitted development rights

In some circumstances local planning authorities can suspend permitted development rights in their area, under Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

Recent changes

In May 2013 changes came into force to allow permitted development for home extensions; to increase the size limits for the depth of single-storey domestic extensions from 4m to 8m (for detached houses) and from 3m to 6m (for all other houses), in non-protected areas, for a period of three years. A neighbour consultation scheme on new extensions was introduced by the then Government in response to concerns about the original proposals. This temporary permitted development has now been extended until May 2019.

From 15 April 2015 the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 consolidated and revoked the previous 1995 legislation relating to permitted development in England. It also introduced a number of new permitted development rights, including the provision of click-and-collect services by shops and to enable greater use of non-domestic properties to provide renewable energy.

Changes coming into force

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2016 (SI 332) will into force on 6 April 2016. It will introduce new permitted development rights in connection with petroleum exploration monitoring and appraisal. It will also introduce a number of change of use permitted development rights, which are set out in another Library briefing paper, Planning: change of use.

In a March 2016 written statement the Government confirmed it will increase some permitted development rights to allow for taller mobile masts.

Future proposals

The Government’s August 2015 rural productivity plan, Towards a one nation economy: A 10-point plan for boosting productivity in rural areas and the subsequent February 2016 Rural planning review: call for evidence asked for views on the planning system in rural areas, with specific interest in how permitted development rights are being used.

A February 2016 consultation on Upward extensions in London proposes a new permitted development rights to to allow additional storeys to be built on an existing building, up to the height of an adjoining roofline. The March Budget 2016  suggested this could also be introduced in other areas of the country.

Commons Briefing papers SN00485

Author: Louise Smith

Topic: Planning

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