Sandy explains a bit about Permitted Development Rights

Sandy Hickey

by Sandy Hickey

12/09/2023, in Design Hints and Tips | Main Blog | South Warwickshire Blog

As part of my quest to make my new house warm and cosy, I had my chimney stacks taken down.

My house isn’t in a Conservation area, so I knew that under Permitted Development Rights I didn’t need to ask permission to do it. But as I was loading 200kg of bricks into my car to take to the tip – It got me thinking about what is permitted under Permitted Development Rights.

What most people don’t realise is that everything that we do to our homes and property is regulated. Although we own our houses, we don’t have the right to change them externally. Everything needs planning permission.

So why didn’t I need to apply for planning permission to remove my chimneys?
Planning permission is a long process that involves quite a lot of people and, most would agree that the removal of a chimney isn’t really a big enough thing to make all that time, effort and paperwork worthwhile for the impact on the street scene.

Therefore, to help simplify matters the UK has developed an additional piece of legislation. It has the snappy title of – The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.

The types of work you can do are divided up into different classes under the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO). My chimney removal comes under Class G – installation, alteration, or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe. You can see  below that I seriously altered my chimney!


The documents set out what you can and can’t do. It can be a bit of a minefield trying to figure out if the thing you want to do needs planning permission or can be covered under Permitted Development Rights.


This house, seen from the train to London, has maximised its potential by using its Permitted Development Rights.
It has added a dormer onto the rear roof and a single-storey extension on to the rear elevation. To do these things, the owner will have had to comply with certain restrictions regarding height, materials and positioning.

In the back garden there looks to be what might be an original garage. Then there is a large outbuilding at the bottom of the garden. The owner could add further sheds as long as all these extensions and structures don’t take up more than 50% of the external areas (termed the curtilage of the building).

As this house is semi-detached, under Class A it can add an extension across the back of the house that is a maximum of 3m deep and 3m high without having to talk to the planning authority.

That 3m high rule comes in again with structures in the garden – generally sheds. These come under Class E and are described as any building or enclosure, swimming or other pool required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling. They can’t be more than 3m in height, unless they are pitched, allowing the ridge to be up to 4m. But if you put them within 2m of your neighbour’s boundary, the eaves height can’t be more than 2.5m. You can’t put kitchens or bathrooms in them and they can’t be attached to the house (although strangely an extension under Class A doesn’t have to be attached, as long as it doesn’t go out further than the furthest allowed distances.

While building under permitted development rights allows you to avoid talking to the local planning department we would advise you to apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development. When you are spending a lot of money on an extension it is not wise to risk getting it wrong. Neither do you want the stress of trying to prove something is legally built when you come to sell your property, because the rules for permitted development can change.

Can You Extend a Linked Detached House in Bramhall?

An example of a positive change for homeowners has been the introduction of the larger single storey extension within permitted development rights. This helped in a project carried out by Lisa for Pride Road last year. Initially a planning application was put in, because the client wanted to extend 4.5m but it was refused. However, the neighbours were both supportive, so Lisa went back and looked at what could be done using the updated permitted development rights. These allow a rear extension of up to 8m deep for a detached house, or in the case of this project 6m, because it wasn’t a detached house, if the neighbours support the project. This is often termed ‘Prior approval’. Lisa’s clients were very happy with the result.