The increased size limits for single-storey rear extensions that were previously time limited and due to expire on 30 May 2019 have now been made permanent by government. 


  • Single-storey rear extensions can now be extended beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than eight metres if a detached house; or more than six metres for any other house.
  • Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension of four metres.
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What is Permitted development?

Permitted Development Rights are changes and additions you can make to your home without applying to your local authority for planning permission. They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. The rights are for houses – so if you live in a flat or maisonette, they do not apply.

If you live in a World Heritage Site, Conservation Area, National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, permitted development rights are more restricted. Therefore some changes you might want to make to your home will need planning permission when they wouldn’t if you lived elsewhere. Listed buildings are also an exception to these rights.

Due to this, planning permission is now no longer required by the majority of homeowners for MOST loft conversions and rear extensions type developments, which has lead to around a quarter of all planning applications being removed from the system. Although some recent developments may have had permitted development rights removed as part of a previous planning application. If this is so then it will be listed as a condition on the decision notice. In these cases, all developments that fall into the Classes that have been restricted will require planning permission.

It is always a good idea to consult the local authority to confirm whether you need planning permission or any other form of consent, before undertaking any work.

Even if Planning Permission may not be required, we advise that you apply for a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development and receive approval before commencing with your building project.

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Garage extension and drive

Planning Permission: What can & cannot be done?

You can build an extension

But: you’ll need to apply for planning permission if your extension will be nearer to the road than the original house is. You will need planning if more than half of the area around the original house will be covered by additions. There are other conditions regarding size and design. For detailed information on extension rules please contact us today for your free consultation.

You can add a conservatory

But: as with extensions, this is not permitted development if more than half the area of the land around the original house would be covered by additions, or it would be forward of the front of your house. Also, take a look at the details on size and design on the government’s planning portal.

You can convert your loft

But: there’s a limit on the volume of additional space created of 40 cubic metres for terraces, or 50 cubic metres for semis and detached for permitted development, and your conversion cannot be beyond the plane of the roof slope at the front of the house. For rules on size and design, go to the government’s planning portal. Don’t forget to include any previous development on the house in your volume calculations. Dormer windows also contribute to the volume of the roofspace.

You can convert a garage

But: work needs to be internal, and must not enlarge the building. Do also check with your local authority as, for example, there may be a condition from a previous permission restricting the use of the garage, and some new housing developments might require a planning application for this.

You can build a garage, shed or greenhouse

But: you’ll need to apply for planning permission if you want to build it forward of the front of your house or if more than half the land around the original house would be covered by additions. There are also rules on size and design. Visit the government’s planning portal.

You can add windows

But: a new bay window is considered to be an extension.

You can fit solar panels

But: they cannot be installed above the ridgeline nor project more than 200m from the roof or wall.

You can re-roof, or add roof or sky lights

But: not if an alteration would project more than 150mm from the existing roof plane or an alteration would be higher than the highest part of the existing roof.

You can pave your front garden

If you use a surface that rainwater can drain through, or the rainwater drains into your garden. You can also create a drive and put down other hard surfaces away from the front garden.

But: you’ll need planning permission if the area of your front garden that you’re paving is more than 5 square metres and you’re laying an impermeable surface.

You can put up fences, walls and gates

But: you’ll need planning permission if they’re over 1m high, and next to a road or footpath to a road or over 2m high elsewhere. Also, if what you put up forms a boundary with a listed building.

You can build decking

But: it can’t be more than 30cm above the ground, nor bring the amount of additions to the house to more than half of the garden area.

You cannot: install a wind turbine without planning permission in most cases.

Planning Permission may not be required, however for a formal decision please apply for a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development.