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General Permitted Development Regulations Are Changing Again

On 15 April 2015, The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 came into force. This was introduced by the Government partly in a bid to remove some of the restrictions for change of use and conversion of redundant commercial buildings in England to residential, which in turn, would boost the housing market and the economy.

The 2015 amendments to the General Permitted Development (GDP) regulations also benefitted residential property owners in England as it allowed an increase in the size of development, such as extensions and loft conversions, potentially without the need for formal planning consent.

For example, prior to the amendments, GPD allowed for extensions to extend beyond the rear wall of the original property no more than 4 metres in the case of a detached property, or no more than 3 metres in the case of any other property, and not more than 4 metres in height.  The 2015 amendments to GPD allow for extensions to extend beyond the rear wall of the original property no more than 8 metres in the case of a detached property, or no more than 6 metres in the case of any other property, and not more than 4 metres in height.

However, this enhanced GPD is time limited and is scheduled to end on 30 May 2019. This means that any development started under the enhanced GPD must be completed prior to that date. Failure to complete any development will require an application for formal planning consent and in some cases may be subject to enforcement action by the planning authority.   Any new development will be bound by the previous constraints.

Any development, whether or not undertaken under GPD regulations, will require building regulations consent and in some instances, reports such as flooding and environmental impact.

In addition for any development to residential properties to potentially benefit from GPD regulations then the following should be taken into consideration:

  • The lawful use of the property must be a single family dwelling and is not a flat or a maisonette
  • The works must be contained within the boundaries of the property
  • Once completed the entire property will not cover more than 50% of the plot.

If these are satisfied the GPD regulations may apply to any development.

However, GPD regulation will not benefit the in the following instances:

  • The property is a listed building;
  • The Property is in a conservation area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Park or a local authority specified in the 2015 Order
  • GPD rights have been removed by a previous planning consent or restriction on the property.

If this is the case then an application for planning consent will be required, in addition to listed building consent in the case of a listed building, reports and building regulations consent.

Most local authorities publish guidelines and check lists for homeowners on their websites and if you are considering any development to your property, the planning officers will generally be on hand to give general guidance.  You might otherwise consider taking specialist advice from an architect or planning consultant.

Update – May 2019

In a surprise announcement the Housing Minister has extended the relaxation of general permitted development regulations. This will allow more people to have a home they want without the process of selling up and buying a larger property.

The temporary provisions introduced in 2013 are now to be made permanent with a soon to be issued higher profile announcement.

Under the existing rules, homeowners can construct a single-storey rear extension on their property of up to six square metres for terraced or semi-detached homes, or eight square metres for detached homes.


Although correct at the time of publication, the contents of this newsletter/blog are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute, legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Please contact us for the latest legal position.

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