Summary of the latest Permitted Development changes - May 30th
Residential Extensions [Part 1, Class A]
This is the change that caused Mr Pickles to promise to introduce a ‘light touch consultation’ regime during the
second reading of the Growth & Infrastructure Bill in the House of Commons in late April, in order to head off
a rebellion by MPs that threatened to scupper the entire Bill. [NB - The G&I Act 2013 simply gave the Secretary
of State the power to introduce the current GPDO changes to domestic PD rights, it did not - as was erroneously
reported at the time – introduce the changes themselves].
This amendment only applies until 30th May 2016. The increased PD limit applies only to single storey
extensions, up to 4m in height, which do not extend beyond the original rear wall of the dwellinghouse by more than
8m for a detached property, or 6m in any other case. Existing GPDO controls regarding the use of materials that are
similar to those used in the construction of the rest of the house will still apply, although the prior approval
procedure [see below] will provide only scant details of the works – e.g. no elevations.
If a proposed rear extension exceeds the current maximum permitted depth of 4m but is within the new 8m or 6m
tolerance, the following rather tortuous public consultation procedure must be followed:
a) Before starting work on the extension, the ‘developer’ – i.e. owner or householder – must send to the
o a written description of the extension;
o a plan indicating the site and the location of the extension;
o the addresses of any adjoining premises; and
o the developer’s contact details.
b) The LPA then notifies any adjoining owners or occupiers, providing:
o the details of the proposed extension;
o the date of receipt of the information from the developer;
o the final date for the determination as to whether prior approval is required = 42 days; and
o not less than 21 days for the submission of any representations.
c) The LPA must send a copy of the neighbour notification to the developer.
d) If any objections are received from neighbours within the 21-day period, the LPA must assess the impact of
the proposed development on the amenity of any adjoining premises.
e) The LPA can require the developer to submit any additional information it may reasonably require in order to
carry out the assessment [although there is no explicit provision for an extension to the 42-day period].
f) When considering the impact of the proposed development, the LPA must:
o take into account any representations received; and
o consider the amenity of all adjoining premises, not just those from where objection are received;
h) The development may not commence until either:
o the LPA confirms in writing that its prior approval is not required; or
o the LPA provides written notice giving its prior approval;
o the LPA fails to respond with 42 days of receipt of the initial notification, or
o the LPA notifies the developer that prior approval is refused [in which case development may not commence
unless a planning application is submitted and subsequently approved].
i) Where prior approval is required, the development must be carried out in accordance with the details approved
by the LPA, or where it is either not required or no response is received from the LPA, in accordance with the
j) The development must be completed by 30th May 2016. The developer must notify the LPA of the date of the
completion of the extension, as soon as is reasonably practical thereafter. [This is counter to normal planning
practice where commencement is controlled but not completion].
This prior approval procedure looks rather like the existing fast-track householder planning application
procedure, but with a reduced 6-week timescale for a considered decision based on limited information. Quite how
this will persuade householders to carry out extensions to their properties where they would not otherwise have
done so is not at all clear. All householders potentially save is a couple of weeks in the application process and
the £172 application fee.
Meanwhile, the LPA has to process the prior approval application without receiving any financial benefit for
doing so and if it refuses prior approval on residential amenity grounds, how can it then deal with a subsequent
planning application in an unbiased manner?
Finally, it must be borne in mind that the prior approval procedure can only confirm that the proposed extension
fall within the 4m - 8m depth criteria. In order to confirm that the several other criteria under Part 1, Class A
are also satisfied, it will be necessary to obtain a Lawful Development Certificate – as at present - so that is
probably a more certain path to follow if the developer wants legal certainty that an extension is lawful.