Thinking of extending your home? Good news – you may not need planning permission

If you live in England and are thinking of adding an extension to your home, you may benefit from relaxed permitted development rules and not require planning permission.

We previously wrote about planning laws being temporarily relaxed by Government in a bid to allow families to grow without being forced to move to a bigger home. Now the temporary measures – which were due to end 30 May 2019 – have been made permanent.

At the same time, rules governing change-of-use for high street businesses are being relaxed so that property owners there can more easily respond to changing trends in customer spending.

What does this mean for homeowners in England?

Under the rules of permitted development, homeowners can add a single-storey rear extension to their property of up to six metres for terraced or semi-detached homes, or eight metres for detached homes.

The law does not give homeowners carte blanche to extend, however. Any single-storey extension may be subject to neighbour consultation as part of the prior approval process, and existing planning rules still apply. Any development in breach of the rules risks an enforcement notice from the local planning authority.

There are also restrictions to permitted development rights in certain areas, such as National Parks, Conservation Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites.

So while an extension within permitted development rules means you do not need to approach your local planning authority for permission, The Planning Portal’s advice is to contact them to discuss your proposal in any case, before you begin work.

Do homeowners need building control and warranties for extensions?

Extensions falling under permitted development will not need structural warranties but you still need to comply with all relevant building regulations. Before any works begin, you need to submit either a building notice or a full plans application to your local authority building control. You can find details of your building control team via our partner organisation, LABC.

Building control will sign off your design and will inspect the finished project to ensure it meets all building regulation standards.

Relaxed planning for our changing high streets

Napoleon famously referred to the UK as a “nation of shopkeepers” but our shopkeepers have more flexibility than ever on how they use their high street property. Shops can be converted into offices without the need for a full planning application, while takeaways can be converted into new homes.

Planning now also permits temporary changes of use, from traditional shops to community-use buildings such as libraries or public meeting rooms.

Further reading


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information in this article was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the reader’s professional judgement and any construction project should comply with the relevant Building Regulations or applicable technical standards. However, for the most up to date LABC Warranty technical guidance please refer to your Risk Management Surveyor and the latest version of the LABC Warranty technical manual.


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