Permitted development: 8 projects you can do without planning permission

Tired of jumping through planning hoops? You might be surprised at what you can achieve without full consent

The process of gaining planning permission can be costly and time-consuming. Setbacks are common and there’s no guarantee that the planners will get on board with your grand vision.

It's not all doom and gloom though. Under the UK’s permitted development (PD) rights, there are plenty of ways to remodel your home without the need for a formal application. 

Plus, with new plans recently unveiled by the government to make two-storey extensions permissible under PD, there are more ways to improve your home without planning permission than ever before.

READ MORE: How to make a successful planning application

Projects are still subject to some restrictions (they need to meet building regulations for example), so it's important to do your research before charging in, but in general, PD rules allow you to make large changes to your property without too much trouble.

Here's what you could achieve without all the paperwork...

Switch up your interior

8 projects you can do without planning permissionShake up your layout by creating an open-plan space. Image: John Lewis

Frustrated by an impractical kitchen layout? Whether you want to create a large multipurpose living room or fancy adding an ensuite to your bedroom, you can do it all without the stamp of approval from your local planners.

Internal remodelling jobs are covered under permitted development, allowing you to reconfigure wall positions, ceiling heights and room layouts. What are you waiting for?

Add a single-storey extension

8 projects you can do without planning permission
A glazed extension can add real wow-factor. Image: Hut Architecture

If you dream of a beautiful glazed extension linking your kitchen to your garden, then good news – single-storey rear and side extensions are both permitted under PD.

There are some size restrictions, however. For rear extensions on a detached house, you can stretch out to a maximum of four metres from the original property wall or three metres for any other property. Additions must not exceed four metres in height.

For side extensions, you can extend up to a maximum of half the width of the original building and no more than four metres high.

Convert a loft

8 projects you can do without planning permissionEmpty rafter space has no end of potential. Image: Jafara/Shutterstock

You can add space and value to a snug home by converting a redundant loft into a useable space without having to battle the planners.

Under PD rights, you can also add rooflights to turn these often dark and dingy spaces into covetable light-filled interiors. From a cosy bedroom to a home office or a handy storage room, there's a wealth of possibilities for that old dusty attic.

Fix up the roof

8 projects you can do without planning permissionNew roof tiles can add instant curb appeal. Image: karamysh/Shutterstock

Your home is only as good as its roof and fortunately, you can give yours a bit of TLC without jumping through any planning hoops. You can replace a single section or you could go for a complete refresh and re-roof your entire house.

If you want to create more head height, you’re also in luck. You can change the shape of your roof as long as the works don’t extend more than 150 millimetres beyond the existing slope.

Convert your garage

8 projects you can do without planning permissionThis former garage is now a bright family games room. Image: Masterpiece Design Group

Give your garage a new lease of life and transform it into an additional living space or guest room without lodging a planning application.

To avoid rubbing your local council up the wrong way, you just need to make sure that any works carried out are internal and your garage conversion doesn't involve extending the size of the building outwards.

Build an outbuilding

8 projects you can do without planning permissionSplash out on a charming clapboard pool house. Image: Oak Design Co

Yearning for a garden sanctuary at a distance from your main home? Consider it done. Permitted development rights allow the construction of outbuildings on your property, from summer houses to gyms, home offices, garages or sheds.

However, the proposed building must not exceed a height of four metres and cannot cover more than 50% of the land around your house. Start planning your dream space with these amazing garden room ideas.

Install a swimming pool

8 projects you can do without planning permissionAdd a touch of luxury to your back garden. Image: alexandre zveiger/Shutterstock

Come summer, the idea of lounging by your very own pool, cocktail in hand, is a tempting one. Under PD regulations, it’s a dream that's completely achievable too.

Swimming pools fall under the same class as outbuildings, so while you can’t go overboard and turn your whole garden into a swimming pool, if you are ready to take the plunge and install one, it won't require planning permission.

Add a two-storey extension

8 projects you can do without planning permissionThis sleek extension features herringbone pine floors. Image: Vine Architecture

Under new amendments to current planning legislation, homeowners will soon be allowed to add two-storey extensions to their properties without having to submit a planning application.

Extensions must be no closer than seven metres to the rear boundary of your property. Keep your eyes peeled – additional restrictions may be unveiled in the near future. 

Restrictions

There are some important caveats to permitted development. If your home is in a designated space – a conservation area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for example – PD rights will be more restricted. Similarly, if your property is listed, there are likely to be different requirements for any alterations you're looking to make. 

In addition, flats and maisonettes don't fall within the regulations as alternations could affect neighbouring homes.

It's always a good idea to reach out to your local planning department to discuss your project before you break ground – they'll be able to flag up any causes for concern and advise on whether you may need permissions to carry out the work.

Planning a big project? You can find out more about permitted development rights on the Planning Portal.

READ MORE: 8 renovations that will add money to your home and 8 that will cost you

Top image: Richard John Andrews

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