20 home improvements that don’t need planning permission (part two) | homify

20 home improvements that don’t need planning permission (part two)

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Garden - Canary Wharf Millennium Interior Designers Modern garden
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Certain home improvement projects can be undertaken under Permitted Development Rights, which says that you do not need to apply for planning permission. Planning permission is official consent from the local planning authority, designed to control inappropriate development. 

Let’s see some more building- and/or renovation projects you can take on yourself…

11. Gates, walls and fences

Permitted Development (PD) facilitates the erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration to gates, fences and walls in accordance with the following limitations: 

• The height does not exceed 1 m when adjacent to a highway.

• The height does not exceed 2 m for any other gate, fence etc. 

• Such development is not permitted under PD around a listed building.

12. Porches

Old post office created into a luxury living space A1 Lofts and Extensions Country style houses
A1 Lofts and Extensions

Old post office created into a luxury living space

A1 Lofts and Extensions

Want to build a porch on the front of your property? Good news: you do not need to obtain planning permission as long as you follow a few rules: 

• No part of the porch may be taller than 3 m.

• It cannot be within 2 m of any boundary adjacent to a highway.

• The ground area (measured externally) may not exceed 3 m².

13. Decking

A raised platform (with a height greater than 30 cm) requires planning permission; a garden deck and other similar structure below this height does not – provided that they, together with other extensions, outbuildings etc. do not cover more than 50% of the garden area. 

From landscape designers to expert tilers, we have them all here on homify, and much more. Check out our professionals page.

14. Swimming pools

Feel free to start dreaming of splashing around, as under PD rights you may build a swimming pool in your garden, provided that the total area covered by the pool does not exceed 50% of the area of the garden curtilage.

15. Certain new accesses

Planning permission is not required when creating a new vehicular access onto an unclassified road. However, permission is needed for accesses onto classified roads. 

For a new access onto a classified road, you need to ensure sufficient visibility when leaving the site, as well as enough turning space to allow you to enter and exit in a forward gear.

16. Cladding

Cladding (like stone, timber, pebble dash, etc.) is not permitted under PD on any dwelling house located on Article 1(5) land (in special areas, such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty / AONB). 

However, on other buildings not affected by an Article 1(5) land, cladding changes may fall under PD.

17. Solar panels

As long as those solar panels don’t protrude more than 20 cm beyond the plane of the wall or roof, and the highest part of the panel does not exceed the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney), they may be developed under PD. 

But bear in mind that limitations apply in Conservation Areas and on listed buildings. Free-standing panels can also be developed, but are limited in size and proximity to the boundary.

18. Basements

Basement with Light well, Clapham SW11 TOTUS Modern houses

Basement with Light well, Clapham SW11


Building a basement allows you more space without reducing the size of your garden. And in a recent appeal decision, it was considered that basements could be PD under Class A of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO). 

However, PD does not allow for engineering works.

19. Parking

Class F of the GPDO refers to the provision of hard surfaces, such as parking areas. These are also permitted under PD, as long as any hard surface situated between the principal elevation of a dwelling and the highway, or any surface which would exceed 5 m², is made of porous materials. 

Otherwise, provision must be made to direct run-off water from the surface into a permeable/porous area within the property curtilage, and not onto the highway.

20. Change of use

Suburban villa: Winnington Road Wolff Architects Modern houses
Wolff Architects

Suburban villa: Winnington Road

Wolff Architects

An industrial, commercial or agricultural building may be converted for residential use without the need for planning permission. However, this will require approval for Listed Buildings and in Conservation Areas. You will also need to follow the Prior Notification procedure if you are converting an agricultural building.

homify hint: Always check with the Local Planning Authority to ensure you do not require planning permission, as in some cases PD rights may have been removed. If you’re thinking of selling the property in the future, then it might be best to obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development, confirming the project falls within PD. 

Please note that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each benefit from their own version of these rules, so it is always best to check with the relevant planning authority. 

Missed the first part? Then check out: 20 home improvements that don’t need planning permission (part one).

Planning any of these extensions for your home?

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