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What are the changes to Permitted Development Rights (and do they impact me)?

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Andrew Sadler

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What are the changes to Permitted Development Rights (and do they impact me)?

July 31, 2020



Last week, the Government shared two new pieces of legislation on Permitted Development Rights. We’re diving into what these changes are and what they could mean for you.

Permitted Developments Rights are the rules under which someone can make changes to a building without the need to apply for planning permission. They’re set according to Parliamentary general planning permission, rather than from local planning authorities; aka, they’re firmly set in stone.

Last week, the Government published updates expanding these rights: these updates are a pretty exciting move for homeowners.

Why exciting? They now include an added bonus… upwards extensions of certain properties and the replacement of existing buildings to provide new housing has now been given the green flag.

What’s the thinking behind the changes to the Permitted Development Rights?

The hope is that, with these legislative changes, we will see a reduction in the pressure to build on greenfield sites. Instead, the Government hopes that there will be a rise in homes that genuinely fit the character of a local area… without the burden of all that red tape.

In the official announcement, Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenerick MP said:

“These changes will help transform boarded up, unused buildings safely into high quality homes at the heart of their communities. It will mean that families can add up to 2 storeys to their home, providing much needed additional space for children or elderly relatives as their household grows”

This is something we can 100% get behind!

The finer details: upwards extensions of dwellings.

From 31 August 2020, any home built between 1 July 1948 and October 2018 can be extended upwards to allow for additional living space (with prior approval from their local planning authority). 

This is a huge addition to the legislation. The specific areas this applies include:

Unsurprisingly, it isn’t quite as straightforward as this. There are a few other hoops you need to consider first. To qualify, the building must not be located (or form a part of):

Tick all the boxes? Brilliant. This could well benefit you and the future of your home.

The finer details: upward extension of commercial and mixed-use properties.

Again, from 31 August 2020, commercial or mixed-use properties built between 1 July 1948 and 5 March 2018 can extend upwards in order to create new flats (with prior approval).

Similarly to dwellings, these legislation changes mean the property can add up to two additional storeys (7 meters). Overall, the building must not surpass 18 meters in height; the exception is for detached commercial or mixed use buildings, in which case they can reach 30 meters).

The same criteria applies, but applicants for new flats must also apply for prior approval on:

Got it? Brilliant. The world is your oyster!

The finer details: replacement of commercial buildings and flats with housing.

Finally, the new legislation includes commercial buildings and flats (namely, purpose built residential blocks, offices, light industrial and research and development)  to be replaced with new housing (with prior approval).

The new housing can be a single detached house or a detached block of flats. It’s worth noting that this addition to the legislation is slightly harder to fit into all the requirements:

Of course, these lists are by no means exhaustive… your local authority could easily refuse a prior application if they don’t believe it sufficiently meets the conditions, or lacks the information needed to make a decision.

But, these changes hold so much potential. We are looking forward to seeing the extensions that people go on to design and build in the coming months and years!

To find out more about how Buildpass can help you create a more sustainable, efficient home, please contact a member of our team. 

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