Permitted Development Rights

Head of Planning Amanda Beresford tells us more about this subject.

What are permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights are effectively planning permissions granted by statute. They allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. Some permitted development rights are subject to conditions and some require prior approval for specified matters before they can be implemented.

Where do I find details of permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights are set out in the Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 as amended. The order has been amended frequently and continues to be amended on a regular basis.

Can permitted development rights be expanded or withdrawn by a Local Planning Authority (LPA)?

Yes. Local Planning Authorities can expand permitted development rights by a Local Development Order and they may be withdrawn via a direction known as an 'Article 4 Direction'. It is therefore important to check whether any of these exist in an area where development is proposed to establish exactly what permitted development rights are available. Permitted development rights can also be removed by means of a condition on a planning permission. For example, planning permission for a dwelling would normally allow that dwelling to be extended (within limitations) under permitted development rights, however, the Local Planning Authority may attach a condition stating that this permitted development right will not apply to this dwelling.

Do permitted development rights apply in conservation areas and national parks?

Areas such as conservation areas and national parks (including areas of outstanding natural beauty, the Broads and World Heritage sites) are often subject to a range of exclusions which dis-apply to permitted development rights within their area. 

Is there a time limit on permitted development?

Usually no, but in May 2013 a range of permitted development rights were brought into force which are time limited. So for example, the permitted development right that allows change of office use to residential use, applies between 30 May 2013 and 30 May 2016. Other examples, include the change of use of a building in any use class to a state funded school provided this has been approved by the Minister with responsibility for schools (applicable for 5 years between 30 May 2013 and ending on 30 May 2018).

What are some examples of permitted development rights?

The following are some examples of permitted development rights; however, as mentioned above, it is important to check how they apply in a particular area and whether they are subject to any restriction or exclusions or whether a prior approval process is in place.

  • Some house extensions and development within the curtilage of a dwelling;
  • Some changes of use such as from office, restaurant or hot food takeaways to retail;
  • Some agricultural and forestry operations;
  • Some developments by statutory undertakings.

There are many more. Most require a prior approval process but broadly they relate to a change of use of retail premises or financial and professional services premises to residential, shops to banks and building societies, farm buildings to homes, a range of commercial uses to nurseries, and farm buildings to nurseries.

If my development is permitted development, does that mean I will not need any other consents or permissions?

No. There are special rules which apply to ensure that, for example if the works are being done to a heritage building, listed building consent may still be required and if appropriate, environmental assessment and habitat regulations may also have to be complied with.

Permitted development may also be liable to pay a community infrastructure levy charge.

Our team

Amanda Beresford


Head of Planning

Direct Line +44 (0)113 297 8070

Lyn Dario


Head of Environmental & Regulatory

Direct Line +44 (0)113 297 3779

Stuart Lumb



Direct Line +44 (0)113 297 3781

Emma Thomas



Direct Line +44 (0)113 288 2842