As a general rule of thumb, if what you want to do will not extend the overall footprint of the building, Permitted Development Rights allow you to carry out the work without first having to make a planning application. So if you want to make changes to the inside of your home, you will not have to apply for planning permission. Both the conversion of an integral garage into your living space and a loft conversion fall within the Permitted Development Rules as they do not affect the overall footprint of the building, so you will not need planning permission for these.
Even an extension or new building, such as a conservatory, garage or home office, built within the grounds of your property may not need planning permission under Permitted Development Rights. A single story extension (including a conservatory or orangery) is permitted, provided it doesn’t sit forward of the front of your property, is made of similar materials to the main house, and complies with certain size restrictions. Two-storey extensions, provided they are to the rear of your property, also fall within the Permitted Development Rules.
Siting a new building in your garden falls within the permitted development rules, providing the total area taken up by it does not exceed 50% of the total area of your garden, excluding the area of land on which your house sits. In order to fall within Permitted Development, the use of your proposed outbuilding must be ‘incidental’ to that of the dwelling, so this will work for gyms, garages and general stores, as well as for office space. Outbuildings, under Permitted Development, cannot be used for residential accommodation, however – so no bedrooms!
Note, however, that even if your proposed home improvement plans fall under the banner of Permitted Development, if the changes are structural or electrical, or require drainage works (so this would include re-siting a kitchen or bathroom, for example), you will still need to apply to your local council for Buildings Regulations Consent. Buildings Regulations ensure that the works have been carried out properly and that they comply with safety standards. You will need a Buildings Regulations Completion Certificate for any works carried out if you ever intend to sell your property in the future.
In addition, if your property is a listed building, or if it is located within a Conservation Area, you may have to apply for planning permission as well as Listed Buildings Consent and/or Conservation Area Consent before the works are carried out. If you aren’t sure, it’s always best to check with your local planning office. If you want to be absolutely certain, you can always obtain a Certificate of Lawful Development from your local authority that confirms the project falls within your Permitted Development Rights. An application for this usually costs around £75.
For further help or advice, please contact Property Litigation Partner Jonathan Warner Reed on 0113 280 2045 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.