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  • Adil Bashir (Baz)

Do Permitted Development planning rights live up to the hype?

The GDPO (General Permitted Development Order) 2015 covers a range of new and amended permitted development rights.


Some common examples of permitted development and their respective conditions;


Single storey extensions


Limited to 3m for attached properties, 4m for detached - No planning needed

Up to 6m for attached and 8m for detached - Under prior approval but subject to neighbor notice and approval

Eaves height of extension limited to 3m, ridge to 4m


2 Storey extensions


Permitted development only applies to houses built between 1948 - 2018

Height is limited to 3.5m for terrace or semi detached houses

Applied only to purpose built houses and not those previously converted under PD


Changes of use



Enter Class E!


Many of the use classes under the GDPO have merged under Class E. This includes;


Shops, food and drink cafe/eat in, banks, doctors surgeries and dentists, day cares, beauticians, light industrial where there is no pollution such as noise, dust or smoke.


Whereas previous, prior approval was needed to change from on of the above uses to the other, now any one of the above uses automatically fall under Class E. So for example a sweet shop could be converted into a dentists practice without any needing to apply for planning permission (and vice versa! What would Willy Wonka's father think.. ! )


Converting Class E to residential still requires prior approval planning permission under class MA.


Class MA; Class E use to Residential


There are a number of conditions such as;


The building must have been operating under a Class E use since 2013.


The building must be vacant for a minimum of 3 months.


Property cannot be a listed building or in an area with special scientific interest or national park area.


Max property foot print is 1500m2.


Prior approval is needed. The council will take into account conditions mentioned earlier such as noise, pollution and in some cases minimum space standards.


The minimum space standards are being adopted locally so not all councils require it however it is becoming more common. This makes prior approvals slightly more difficult.


So does prior approval still deserve the hype?


Yes! Any good planning consultant will check your scheme qualifies for prior approval and follow that route as there are still many advantages such as;


Planning must be given as long as certain conditions are met

4-8 week turnaround vs minimum 8 weeks for a regular planning application

Fewer consultees (usually assessed against noise, flood risk, contamination only)


Contact us to discuss your project.

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