Permitted Development and Lawful Development Certificates

Permitted Development

It’s common knowledge that you don’t always need to get planning permission for some development and changes of use – this is known as Permitted Development. However, there are complex rules as to what can and cannot be done without planning permission, which we would discuss with you from the outset.

Commercial permitted Development includes among other things : the conversion of offices to dwellings, changes of use between certain use classes, and the change of use of barns to dwellings. 

Householder Permitted Development includes the erection of porches, extensions and loft conversions. Generally speaking you can extend up to 3 metres (semi-detached) and 4 metres (detached) from the existing footing of your property. Up until May 2019 this was increased for up to 6 and 8 metres respectively by the use of the Neighbour Consultation Scheme (see below).

However, there are exceptions to this:

  • If your house (or the part of your house that you wish to develop) falls within a conservation area, you will always need planning permission.
  • If the front of your house is caught by the conservation area but the rear isn’t, you may still be able to use permitted development.
  • If the property is a Listed Building then planning permission and listed buildings consent will need to be applied for.

There’s a handy guide in relation to single storey and two storey extensions on the Government’s Planning Portal website.

Lawful Development Certificates

Even if your proposed development does fall within Permitted Development, we generally recommend that you apply to your local Council for a Certificate of Lawful Development. This confirms the project is within the Permitted Development rules (and not a listed building or within a conservation area) as well as ensuring that you are fully compliant with both permitted development rules and any conditions contained with the planning consent of the original build. This also comes in very handy if your neighbours or potential purchasers of the property have any queries as these can be managed quickly and effectively. Details of the process for obtaining a Certificate of lawful developeent can be found at

The Neighbour Consultation Scheme – ending May 2019

This is an extension (up to end May 2019) to the Permitted Development rights of homeowners, with certain catches. Extension plans and accompanying paperwork must be submitted to the Council along with the names and addresses of adjoining landowners for consultation purposes.

The up-side to this scheme is that the Council does not charge a fee (unlike planning permission).

Full details of the scheme can be found on the Planning Portal website.