There are two major changes in the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), which came into effect in August 2020. Several new Permitted Development Rights for rooftop extensions and new dwellings have been introduced. These new rights make it easier for homeowners and developers to add more space or build more homes. They are part of an initiative to revitalise town centres and remove planning abstacles .
- The first new PD right allows for the extension of existing buildings through the addition of 1-2 storeys.
- The second new PD right allows for demolishing and reconstructing buildings, including adding storey.
Whilst development under the new PD rights won’t require planning, you are required to apply for Prior Approval.
What is Prior Approval?
This is often required for change of use PDR, certain types of demolition/new-builds, and now also for the new permitted development rights above.
Prior Approval is less exhaustive than planning permission, and the government describes it as a “light-touch process”. However, you still need to apply so that the Local Authority can check that your development follows the Government set regulations.
Prior Approval for the new classes is more rigorous than for instance applying for a Lawful Development Certificate. The Local Planning Authority may (amongst other things) consider:
- Contamination and Flood risk
- Design of the proposal, in terms of its external character
- Natural light to new residential units
- Impact on transport and highways
- Harm to protected vistas
- Impact of new/increased residential use to the local area
- Impact on amenities; both neighbouring, and those belonging to the property
- Noise levels
What are the new Permitted Development Rights? The first new PD right allows for the extension of existing buildings through the addition of 1-2 storeys. The second new PD right allows for demolishing and reconstructing buildings, including adding storeys. Can I extend upwards?
The new permitted development rights will allow you to extend by up to two storeys directly above an existing house. If your building is single storey, you are limited to one additional storey. To benefit, the building has to have been constructed between July 1948 and October 2018.
What are the design rules for rooftop additions / extending upwards?
The maximum added height is 3.5m per storey and ceiling heights cannot be taller than existing ceiling heights. If the building is semi-detached, the extension cannot be higher than 3.5 m taller than the adjoining building.
What are limitations to Permitted Development Rights?
Normal limitations to Permitted Development Rights are:
- “Designated areas”, such asConservation Areas , Heritage sites, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads
- Listed Buildings
- Local Authorities’ removal of certain rights, by issuing an “Article 4”
- Dwellings that have been created through ‘change of use’ PDR (principal order part 3) may not be further developed under ‘householder’ PDR (principal order part 1)
- Pubs, Libraries, Cinemas and other essential community amenities are not covered by the changing PDR. Their Use Classis the so-called ‘Sui generis’ and does not fall within any of the specified Use Classes.