Permitted development allows developers to build and operate without applying for planning permission. Everybody is a developer whether you are erecting a fence around your garden or looking to build 500 houses, but for most people, the planning system is a confusing, nonsensical or even demoralising experience with countless documents, policies and public bodies. Carrying out your project under “permitted development” will save you a lot of time, money and of course sanity. But, what is permitted development and how?
What is the Planning Definition of Development?
The planning system exists to control “development” as defined in The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) Part 3 s53. The planning definition of development is: “the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.” – TCPA 1990.
For the avoidance of doubt “building operations” includes the demolition of buildings, rebuilding, structural alterations of or additions to buildings and other operations normally undertaken by a person carrying on businesses as a builder. Under s55(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the carrying out of maintenance, improvement or other alteration of any building of works which are interior to the building or do not materially affect the external appearance of building are not classed as development.
In summary, if you are replacing windows like for like, you are not materially affecting the external appearance of the property, thus you are not carrying out development. However, if you begin making external alterations to the material fabric of a building, like adding an extension, building a garden wall or even erecting a fence you are carrying out a development and will therefore need to establish whether you can carry it out without the need to apply for planning permission.
When is Planning Permission Required?
Planning Permission is required when a development exceeds the Permitted Development criteria set out under Schedule 2 of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended). The GPDO 1995 provides permitted development rights (PDR) that allows a whole range different developers such as householders, businesses, farmers, local authorities, transport organisations, aviation institutions, etc to carry out development without being required to submit a planning application for planning permission.
Upon opening the GPDO 1995 you will see in Schedule 2 that there are 33 Parts where each covers a specific type of development. However, most people will be interested in:
What are Householder Permitted Development Rights?
Householders are granted permitted development rights under Schedule 2 Part 1 of the The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended. This Section of the Order details eight classes of development including:
- Class A: The enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwellinghouse.
- Class B: The enlargement of a dwellinghouse consisting of an addition or alteration to its roof.
- Class C: Any other alteration to the roof of a dwellinghouse.
- Class D: The erection or construction of a porch outside any external door of a dwellinghouse.
- Class E: The provision within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse of any building or enclosure, swimming or other pool required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse as such, or the maintenance, improvement or other alteration of such a building or enclosure.
- Class F: The provision within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse of a hard surface for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse as such.
- Class G: The erection or provision within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse of a container for the storage of oil for domestic heating.
- Class H: The installation, alteration or replacement of a satellite antenna on a dwellinghouse or within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse.
NOTE: The permitted development requirements for all householder developments including extensions, dormers, porches, shed, garages, etc are listed in the Classes above except for fences and walls (Part 2 Minor Operations).
Do England and Wales Have Different Householder Permitted Development Rights?
Due to Welsh devolution, Wales is establishing its own planning system but it is heavily influenced by The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990). Permitted development rights for both England and Wales originate from The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended). However, Householders in England should take the permitted development criteria from The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 while householder in Wales should research their permitted development rights through Part 1 of Schedule 2 is amended by the Town and Country Planning (General
Permitted Development) (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2013.
Does a Fence Require Planning Permission?
New boundary fencing or walls do not require planning permission so long as they meet certain criteria under Schedule 2 Part 2 ‘Minor Operations’ of the The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended):
(a) the height of any gate, fence, wall or means of enclosure erected or constructed adjacent to a highway used by vehicular traffic would, after the carrying out of the development, exceed one metre above ground level;
(b) the height of any other gate, fence, wall or means of enclosure erected or constructed would exceed two metres above ground level;
(c) the height of any gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure maintained, improved or altered would, as a result of the development, exceed its former height or the height referred to in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) as the height appropriate to it if erected or constructed, whichever is the greater; or
(d) it would involve development within the curtilage of, or to a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure surrounding, a listed building/
Does the Creation of a New Access Require Planning Permission?
There are permitted development rights which allows the creation of a new access without planning permission under Schedule 2 Part 2 ‘Minor Operations’ of the The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended). However, only where: “The formation, laying out and construction of a means of access to a highway which is not a trunk road or a classified road, where that access is required in connection with development permitted by any Class in this Schedule (other than by Class A of this Part).”
Can Permitted Development Rights Removed?
Yes, permitted development rights can be removed from specific properties or groups of properties. This is actually far more common than most people realise as almost all new residential developments built post-1995 and countryside dwellings have their permitted development rights removed by conditions attached to a previous planning permission.
If you imagine that the planners and developers have spent months if not years meticulously negotiating siting, density and orientation of a new residential development, the social cohesion and residential amenity of the new estate could be adversely affect if one homeowner or more homeowners decided to start adding dormers to their properties or other such developments. Therefore, local authorities will usually remove planning permission from most new-build dwellings and so even if you believe your development is permitted, you will still be required to apply for planning permission and would be unable to submit a lawful development certificate application.