16 Feb 2012

Permitted Development Rights for Householders

Permitted Development Rights for Householders

Fiona Wildgoose, Conveyancing Partner, reviews the introduction of New Permitted Development Rights for Householders which came into force 6th February, 2012.

Fiona Wildgoose, Conveyancing Partner, reviews the introduction of New Permitted Development Rights for Householders which came into force 6th February, 2012.

New Permitted Development Rights for Householders in Scotland will come into force next week.  The new rules will allow a range of works – including extensions, sheds and decking – to be built without the need for planning permission.  Restrictions will still apply in Conservation Areas and for Listed Buildings.  The removal of the need to get planning permission in certain cases will enable improvements to be made to homes without the cost and 'hassle' of what is often found to be a lengthy planning application process.

'Permitted Development' is the generic term given to aspects of development which can be carried out without planning permission.  The legislation setting out these circumstances is the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(Scotland) Order 1992.  The New Permitted Development Rights are coming into force under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development )(Scotland)Amendment Order 2011 Householder Permitted Development Rights.  The intention is to relax the existing planning controls on development in relation to existing dwellinghouses and thereby removing the need for planning applications.  The intention is that more minor and uncontroversial developments will not require a formal application for planning permission.  It is also the aim that the new structure will simplify the existing rules so they are easier to understand and apply.

The main change for the majority of householders is that single storey rear extensions will be removed from the requirement to get planning permission wherever possible, and generally householders will have greater freedom to make minor alterations to their property without the need for planning permission. 

At present, there is a general Class 1 of Permitted Development relating to enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwellinghouse’ and the rules are complex, a challenge to understand and difficult to apply.  This Class will now be divided into 3 separate Classes, in particular a new Class 1 of Permitted Development which separates rear single storey ground floor extensions from all other extensions and improvements.  Many single storey ground floor extensions to the rear of a property will now be classed as Permitted Development and will not require planning permission.  The extension must be completely to the rear of the property and there must be at least 1 metre between the wall of the extension and the boundary of your property on all sides.  The extension itself would also have to fall below a certain size and height to fall into this permitted category.

Another change under the new structure is to allow many other alterations and improvements to existing dwellinghouses as permitted development so long as they are within 1 metre of the walls or roof of a house.  If you visualize a 1 metre ‘bubble’ surrounding the walls and roof of your house, the intention is that alterations and improvements within this ‘bubble’ (unless they are enlargements to the property such as dormer windows) will not require planning permission.   This would cover, for example, the installation of satellite dishes and solar panels.  It is hoped that this relaxation will encourage householders to look to reduce carbon emissions by fitting what is known as ‘microgeneration’ equipment – equipment which produces energy from a low carbon source and has capacity to generate no more than either 50 Kilowatts of electricity of 45 Kilowatts (thermal) of heat.

It should be noted that although the development in question may now fall within Permitted Development, other Council permissions, in particular Building Warrant, may still be required.  The requirement, or not for planning permission, under the new regulations, differs from the requirement for building warrant approval under existing building regulations.   Development may be exempt from the requirement for planning permission but still require building warrant approval, and vice versa.  Also, there are still various criteria which require to be met in order for development to qualify under the New Permitted Development Rights and accordingly you should always consult your local planning authority before undertaking any development.

Fiona Wildgoose, Partner


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