All you need to know about permitted development – part 2

Alex Johnson

63f2eef9babf5243b6ad3c5ea33586992bd1d0a6 300x200 All you need to know about permitted development – part 2A problem with the UK Planning System is that often the householder doesn’t know which home improvements need planning permission and which can be done without permission using Permitted Development. Let’s explore three home improvements that you can/can’t do using PD legislation.

Over The Garden Wall
You don’t need planning permission to remove or improve that rickety fence or gate as long as they aren’t any taller when you put them back. This is Permitted Development and also common sense. In a conservation area you might need conservation area consent to take down a fence, wall or gate and rebuild it and if you live in or next to a listed building, planning permission is always needed when making changes to the boundary.

Turning your castle into a fortress is more complicated. You do need planning permission if you want to put up, or add to, a fence or gate that will be over 1m tall next to a road, or over 2m tall elsewhere.

The Crumbling Driveway
If you fall down that pothole in your drive once more, you may start dreaming about wide, flat expanses of new paving or tarmac.
As long as you allow for rain the news is good; you can get on with the job. You don’t need planning permission to renew your drive or pave your front garden if you use a permeable surface that allows rainwater to drain through. Alternatively if you drain the area properly so that rainwater runs off the drive or paving onto the garden to soaks away naturally, that’s PD too.

However, if you use more than five square metres of traditional tarmac, brick or paving with no drainage, you need Planning Permission. Why? Because our old, urban drains can’t cope with the increased rainfall and flooding that runs of hard surfaces.
A reputable hard landscaping business will know about this and advise you. But it’s the householder’s responsibility to get Planning Permission if needed, so Caveat Emptor.

A Room of One’s Own
You can build many types of ‘incidental’ garden buildings under Permitted Development if you comply with various height and position restrictions, which we won’t describe here. But size isn’t everything…

How you intend to use your garden building dictates whether your building is ‘incidental’ and hence PD. A building to house your swimming pool doesn’t need planning permission, but an office to run a business in does. Even if both buildings are the same shape and size.

A garden studio used for a splash of leisure painting is Permitted Development, as long as it fits height and position guidelines. A professional artist that wants to give lessons to the general public in the same building may well need planning permission.
Everything hangs on the word ‘incidental’. Your local planning department will have a view about whether or not your new garden building is incidental. If it’s anything more than a shed, summerhouse or outhouse it may need planning permission.

In short, Permitted Development isn’t always straightforward and it’s better to check, so that you don’t have to dismantle your project and start again.

This is a guest post by Lynn Fotheringham, the owner of garden office buildings specialist InsideOut Buildings. You can read Part 1 here.

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  • misma_viejo

    it still sounds as if the self appointed arbiters of good taste, the local planning morons, still have an opinion of almost everything.

  • Sculptor471

    “You don’t need planning permission to remove or improve that rickety
    fence or gate as long as they aren’t any taller when you put them back.”

    But can I change the fence material from wooden panels to concrete panels – on a boundary running alongside a pavement?

  • Halloway

    Still at least they stop people like you from ruining the place.

  • Lynn Fotheringham

    As long as you aren’t in a Conservation area or AONB etc you should be Ok

  • Sculptor471

    Thank you – very useful.

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