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Permitted development rights, also known as PD rights, grant property owners the ability to modify the use or expand their property without the necessity of obtaining prior consent from their local council. These rights are established by national government legislation rather than being subject to the discretion of individual local councils.

One of the primary advantages of utilising permitted development rights is the ability to circumvent the expensive and time-consuming planning procedures. This can result in significant cost savings and, can avoid waiting for up to three months for your proposal to be approved by the Local Planning Authority (LPA), provided you adhere to the relevant regulations.

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Typically for traditional residential properties, these permitted development rights pertain to actions such as single-storey side or rear extensions, loft conversions, front porch extensions, outbuildings, and dormer windows. They can also be employed to change the use of a property within the same use class such as turning a C3 dwellinghouse to a C4 HMO or changing a use class E commercial building to C3 residential use.

However, it's important to note that there are limitations to most permitted development rights and specific instances where permitted development cannot be employed. For example, there are restrictions on extensions, maximum volumes on loft conversions, size limits for conversion to flats. Properties situated in conservation areas or those otherwise protected by the local authority through article 4 directions can also have their PD rights removed.

Here are 3 different permitted development rights you can use today to maximise the potential of your properties:

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1. Adding a dormer via a loft conversion


Dormers can only be added to the rear of the property. If you have a back-to-back terrace for example and want to add a dormer on the front, this would not be allowed under permitted development.


Any additional space must not exceed 40 cubic metres for terraced houses and 50 cubic metres for detached or semi-detached properties. This number includes any previously created roof space even if it was made by a previous owner.


Verandas, balconies and raised platforms are not allowed and the dormer must not be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.


Lastly, the dormer must be set back at least 20cm from the original eaves line. This distance is measured along the roof plane.

2. Adding an extension to the rear of your property


Both single and double storey extensions are allowed to the rear of your property under permitted development.


No more than half the area of land around the ‘original house’ can be covered by any extensions or ‘other’ buildings which includes sheds and outbuildings. The term ‘original house’ means the house as it was first built or as it stood on the 1st July 1948 if built before that date.


Like with dormers, any extensions added to a property by previous owners must be included in this calculation.


Single-storey rear extensions must not extend more than 4m from the rear wall of the original house for detached houses and more than 3m for any other house type. The maximum height of a single-storey extension is 4m.


Double height rear extensions can extend a maximum of 3m from the rear wall of the original house and must be a minimum of 7m away from any boundary opposite the rest wall of the house.


In all instances, the eaves and ridge heights of the extension must not be higher than the existing house.

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3. Adding an extension to the side of your property


Not many people know that a side elevation can be permitted development. Side elevations are only allowed to be single-storey and are not allowed on side elevations that front onto a highway.


They must have a maximum height of 4m and also be less than half the width of the original house.


Before starting any work you believe is permitted development it is always good to check that your property is not within an Article 4 area or on designated land as these can either stop or alter the rules on what you are allowed to do.

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