All you need to know about permitted development – part 1

Alex Johnson

d493b3ac40484bc59a1d13133b10211a03515ecf 300x199 All you need to know about permitted development   part 1This spring, when you finally set your aside your iPad, engage with your inner engineer and decide to do something about your sloping patio will it pass through your mind that you might need Planning Permission to undertake your DIY project? writes Lynn Fotheringham from InsideOut Buildings. I suspect, like most UK homeowners, it won’t.

You can make some alterations to your home and garden without Planning Permission, these alterations are called Permitted Development. However, there are many weird little changes and improvements that you can’t make without Planning Permission. Unless your best friend is a town planner who keeps you up to date with every aspect of her career, would it enter your head that you may need Planning Permission to install decking?

The Unsuspecting Householder
The problem for the unsuspecting householder is that Permitted Development information isn’t actively disseminated by the government. Information is available from your council and at but it’s never been part of a public information campaign of the “coughs and sneezes spread diseases” variety. You won’t see a PD poster in the local library.

Permitted Development only works if you, the proactive homeowner, are willing to track down the information and comply with the legislation. Applying for Planning Permission is always your responsibility not your builder’s so don’t take his word for it that your project is PD and doesn’t need Planning Permission; double check.

If you are employing an architect, they should know what is PD and what needs Planning Permission, it’s their job. If you’re going it alone, and surge ahead making creative alterations to your property without reading up on Permitted Development, you may find that an interested neighbour informs the local planning department about your activities.

Permitted Development – What you can and can’t do
There are many things you can do to your home under PD, but lets explore some of the weirder things you can’t do using PD and why not.

Patios and Decking
Putting up decking, or other raised platforms, in your garden is permitted development providing:
• The decking is no more than 30cm above the ground
• Together with other extensions, outbuildings etc, the decking or platforms cover no more than 50 per cent of the garden area

So if you want to build a patio or decking that‘s more than 30cm (just under a foot) tall or if you want to cover more than 50% of your garden with decking (even if it’s less than 30cm tall) neither option is PD; you need planning permission.

Why is this legislation necessary?
You may want to install high level decking to enjoy the view but you don’t want your neighbour to install decking that is so high above ground level that they are peering straight down into your sitting room from their patio perch.

This is a guest post by Lynn Fotheringham, the owner of garden office buildings specialist InsideOut Buildings. Part 2 will be published on the property blog next Tuesday.

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  • andagain

    Why is this legislation necessary?

    How did people survive before this law was passed?


  • Arnold Vere Ward

    Er – perhaps just Google “Permitted Development” will get you more than enough diagrams etc. explaining your permitted development rights.

  • zaaqq

    “You won’t see a PD poster in the local library.” Possibly because they’ve closed all the libraries?

  • James Wellings

    untrue of course, as usual with you

  • zaaqq

    /me gives you a hug

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