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Planning Permission v Permitted Development

Sunday, 7th August 2016 | by: Peter Barry

Clients tend to ask us the question ‘Should I go through planning permission or should I go through permitted development?’ To answer the question it is important to really understand the difference between the two first starting with an understanding of each.

What is Planning Permission?

Planning permission or planning consent is the permission required within the United Kingdom granted by the Local Authority in order to be allowed to:

  • Build something new on land
  • Make a major change to your building e.g. building an extension
  • Change the use of your building

When dealing in residential matters simply put; if you are changing the external appearance it will need planning permission.

What is Permitted Development?

In short Permitted Development rights serve as a relaxed version of planning, they derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. The aim being to allow homeowners to develop their properties quickly as long as the parameters of the rights are met without having to make an actual application.

Typical projects that can be completed within Permitted Development rights are:

It is worth noting that the rights that apply to many common projects do not apply to flats, maisonettes or properties within ‘designated areas’ such as Conservation Areas etc.


As previously mentioned, works that require planning permission will require the submission of an application, whereas those that fall within Permitted Development rights do not, however we would always advise applying for a Certificate of Lawful Development (CLD) to ensure that you have proof the development fell within these rights.

A planning application will take a maximum of 10 weeks to be decided, this includes a 2 week validation period and an 8 week decision period. Permitted Development rights technically require no decision time but the application for a CLD will also take 10 weeks. It is worth noting that works cannot be started unless Building Regulation approval has been obtained and any party wall issues resolved with both routes.

Planning fees will be incurred dependant on the type of proposed works – for a common single dwelling alteration/extension this will be £172, Permitted Development carries no requisite fee however a CLD will cost half the cost of the normal planning fee; in this example £86.

A planning application carries with it a decision period and this in turn provides the local authority with the power to refuse permission for the proposed works. It can never be guaranteed that an application will be granted, however, working alongside local planning guidance can ensure that the application has the best chance of being granted. As long as proposed works comply with the parameters set within the Permitted Development rights it cannot be rejected and therefore works can proceed without complication.


It is clear to see that there is a vast difference between the two routes of development, I have increasingly become aware of clients looking to explore Permitted Development over a planning application. However this is largely due to the fact that is ‘quicker and cheaper’. Whilst this is true I always remind clients that they may be substantially more satisfied with their development should they proceed with a planning application as the parameters set with permitted development can be very limiting. That is not to say that creative and practical developments cannot be achieved through Permitted Development. Before proceeding with further stages of works my advice would be, ‘let the design scheme dictate the permission route most appropriate, whilst being aware of local planning guidance.’

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