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Permitted Development VS Planning Permission

Permitted Development VS Planning Permission

One of the most common questions we get asked is about the difference between planning permission and permitted development. In short, permitted development is simply notifying your local authority of your intention to build. Whereas with planning permission, you’re asking for the permission to build.

So, in a sense, under permitted development, you're telling, not asking. Yet with planning permission, you’re asking, not telling.

In this blog, we’ll go through the main differences between permitted development vs planning permission, so that you can make the right decision for your project.

What is Planning Permission?

Planning permission has been the traditional way to apply for planning consent when you are looking to build an extension for as long as councils have been around. It allows them to check many different aspects of the extension so that it meets their local planning policies. Every council has their own unique planning policies, where that one extension may be ok in one council, but not in another. These include many different factors such as the look, size, shape, materials being used, impact on the neighbours and impact on the street scene etc...

It's become a long and drawn out process that leaves the homeowner waiting anxiously for the result, as it ultimately boils down to the individual decision of the planning officer elected for their project. Where even in the same council, extensions can be passed or rejected on the basis whether you get a strict or lenient planning officer.

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted development was brought out by the UK's Government, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government back in 2015 to provide a solution to the problems homeowners were facing from the traditional planning permission process. It provides the ability to guarantee approval of your extension as long as it meets their generous allowances, these are called your Permitted Development Rights. Click here to discover everything you need to know about Permitted Development

To discover what your permitted development rights are for your desired extension, please click the below project types: These will explain exactly what can be achieved by us.

Permitted Development VS Planning Permission; Benefits and Drawbacks.

Here we are going to explain the key benefits and drawbacks for both planning permission and permitted development.

Drawbacks of Planning Permission

The planning permission route does unfortunately hold quite a few draw backs for homeowners and they are quite critical for your project!

- The decision is out of your hands. When you apply for planning permission you are solely in the hands of the planning officer in charge of your application. Every planning officer is meant to stick to the local planning policy framework, however personal bias is always there and decisions don't always make sense. For example, a property just down the road got approval for almost exactly what you applied for, but yours got refused...

- Extra Cost. The councils application fee for householders planning permission is £206 which is double the price of a lawful development certificate under permitted development.

- Extra Time. The council takes 'approximately' 8 weeks to make their decision on planning applications, however, 25% of the time the decision runs over, and the council asks for an extension of time by usually 1-2 weeks to finalise their response. When you factor in that the council takes an additional week to validate your application at the beginning, the total time can span in the region of 11-12 weeks from submission to decision.

You need to have fixed deadlines for the start of a project so you can obtain all the pre-construction drawings for the builder to start. Usually under planning permission you would wait until the decision has been made before starting construction drawings, so you don't waste money on drawings that can't be used if a refusal occurs. These drawings usually take 2-3 weeks to complete, so you have to factor this time in as well with planning permission applications to when construction can start. Where under permitted development, as you know the application will be passed, you can start these drawings earlier during the approval stage... saving you the additional 2-3 weeks.

- Neighbours. Under planning applications your neighbours and anyone in close proximity to the property has the right to object to your extension plans. If an objection is raised, then the planning officer in charge will read all of these comments and they do influence their decision and may even be the cause for the extension to be rejected by the council. Under permitted development, your neighbours can not raise any comments on the application!

- Peace of Mind. When you are getting ready to extend it can be a stressful time especially as your extensions fate lies in the planning officers hands. Unfortunately, with planning applications this will always be the case and the only thing you can do is create a watertight case. Please see our architectural plan of works to see how we prepare you for planning. Permitted development on the other hand, guarantees your projects approval so the process is much less stressful, as what we design will be approved.

Planning Permission Benefits

There are a few benefits for applying for planning permission as on the surface it allows you the freedom to build as large as you'd like, and to what ever style you like. However, from experience, anything much larger than what you are allowed under permitted development is tricky to get approved and anything too out there in design doesn't comply with the councils planning policies.

Planning permission allows you the ability to undertake a two-storey side extension, which you are not allowed under permitted development, also allows you the possibility of a wraparound extension.

Front dormer loft conversion, where permitted development only allows skylights to the front of the property in the roof. Planning permission also allows modifications to the front façade, where permitted development allows only to the side and rear of the property.

Planning permission is allowed on all housing types and locations, where permitted development is not allowed on flats / maisonettes, if you have an article 4 direction on the property or in certain designated types of protected land in the UK.

Permitted Development Benefits

Permitted development has a lot of benefits over the traditional planning permission process. For more information specifically focused on what is permitted permitted development click here.

- Councils can't reject your application. Permitted development was introduced to provide a guarantee approval on common householder extensions by the government. So unlike with a planning application where you solely rely on the planning officer in the council passing the application, permitted development can't be refused by the council as long as the design is in accordance with your permitted development rights. This provides so many befits to your project, as you can start the construction drawings before approval has been granted as you know it will be passed, saving weeks on your project timeline. It provides peace of mind that your extension will be approved so you avoid the sleepless nights worrying about your planning application being refused and going back to the drawing board.

- Cost saving. Lawful development certificates are half the price of a planning application at only £103. However, if you count time as money, then this will save you a lot more than the cheaper application fee.

- Time savings. As discussed above, permitted development can save you many weeks in the pre construction time line, as you can utilise the time when the application is with the council to undertake building regulation drawings / any structural design and calculations, so when the decision is made you are ready to go!. Traditionally you would wait for the decision to be made before starting these as there is a risk it maybe refused by the council. This allows you to engage with builders earlier and ultimately start you project on average at least 3 weeks earlier. However, there is nothing stopping you starting building before the lawful development certificate has been achieved and if you do this, then technically you can start work after 4-5 weeks of appointing

There is a myth that lawful development certificates are achieved within 2-3 weeks with the council, in all honesty, they usually go the 8 weeks, however, it is down to the individual council and some are faster than others... we have had one approved in only 3 days and others after a only couple of weeks, but the majority do take the full 8 weeks as council's like to take a while to approve anything.

- Neighbours can't object. This is a massive benefit of permitted development, your neighbours can't write into the council and object to your extension. The planning officer has to pass the lawful development certificate even if they do. This is because extensions under your permitted development rights have already met the governments policies to not impact neighbours.

- Prior Approval (Larger Home Extension Scheme). This application type is brilliant! The Larger Home Extension Scheme (LHES) can be seen as a close branch off your permitted development rights. It is there for homeowners looking to extend past their permitted development allocation and utilise their full allotted allowance. It only applies for single storey rear extensions and when adding additional storeys to your existing property. LHES allows you, with neighbours consent, to extend up to 6m for a terraced / semi-detached property and up to 8m for a detached property. And yes, you did read correctly, prior approval allows your to add two additional storeys for all houses and add a single storey for all bungalows! So, you really have come to the right place to achieve your new extension!

The drawbacks of permitted development

Permitted development doesn't really have many draw backs in comparison to a planning application. The only one is that there is a limit to what extension can be done, but the permitted development rights are very generous and rarely you would exceed them. The only common project that does need planning permission and is not covered by permitted development is a wrap around extension, hopefully these regulations are updated in the coming years.

The permitted development guidelines also make you match the existing style of your property, so if you are looking for a very futuristic extension you may have to go for a planning application.

Permitted development or planning permission? Which is right for you?

In 95% of extensions permitted development will be the best option for you and your project. Permitted development excels with single storey rear and side extensions, there is a small chance you'd require a planning application as the guidelines are very generous for permitted development, especially when you take into account prior approval. Same goes with loft conversions, permitted development will allow the vast majority of loft conversions with a rear dormers, only if you are looking for front dormers you would you really consider going for planning permission.

Planning permission excels if you'd like a wraparound extension, first floor side extension, two-storey side extension or a front dormer loft conversion.

Let the permitted development specialists help you.

With the above blog coming to an end it is evident that in the Permitted Development VS Planning Permission comparison, permitted development has a lot of advantages over the traditional planning permission route.

We have unmatched experience in the designing and approval of permitted development projects and we would love to help you achieve yours too. Our simple 3 stage architectural plan of works will deliver the extension you are looking for and provide all the pre-construction information your chosen builder needs to build it.

Check out our home page here where you can discover all about us and how we work.

Or click here, where you can contact us directly and we can start your project today.

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