Permitted development rights explained

If you’re improving your home, find out what work you can do without planning permission.

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What are permitted development rights?

Until 30 May 2016, permitted development (PD) rights provide automatic planning permission for certain alterations and extensions to most houses. To carry out work within PD, your project must conform to the current criteria, so either check with your local planning authority (LPA) before carrying out the works, or have a qualified surveyor confirm that they are in order.

Many changes can be made to a house within PD, with various types of extension permitted. For a full guide to what’s possible, visit the government planning website,

Home improvements – what can I do?

  • Build a porch
  • Carry out internal alterations
  • Convert the loft space, cellar or garage
  • Install microgeneration equipment, such as solar panels (not including wind turbines)
  • Put up satellite dishes and antennae
  • Install rooflights or dormer windows
  • Put in new doors or windows

Did you know…

  • PD rights are updated regularly, so ask your
  • LPA for the latest details
  • Apartments are not included under PD, nor balconies, verandas and platforms (above 30cm)
  • PD doesn’t automatically apply to Conservation Areas or listed buildings
  • PD rules vary in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, and can differ across local authorities

Extension guidelines

  • Keep your extension no higher than the original roof
  • Single-storey rear extensions must not extend more than three metres beyond the rear wall of an attached house, or four metres if detached*, and within a maximum height of four metres
  • Two-storey extensions must not be closer than seven metres to the rear boundary 
  • The roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey should match the existing house
  • Build in the same, or similar material to the existing house
  • Extensions must not go beyond the principal or side elevation fronting a highway
  • Side extensions must be single-storey, no higher than four metres, and no wider than half of the original building
  • In designated areas, side extensions require planning permission and rear extensions must be single-storey
  • An extension must not result in more than half the garden or land being covered
  • Upper-floor, side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed, and any opening part must be 1.7m above the room’s floor

*Six metres and eight metres respectively until 30 May 2016, as part of the neighbour consultation scheme. See the Planning Portal for more information

Featured image: A rear extension within permitted development rights. Photograph by Andrew Beasley.