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How to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness?

Permitted Development entitles you to make different types of minor changes to your house (loft conversion, side extension, rear extension and a garage conversion) without the need to apply for planning permission. These rights were introduced by the government in the 1995 Town and Country Planning Act (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, Article 3. Over the years several amendments have been introduced to the Permitted Development Rights and 4D Planning are able to advise what is permitted development and what required planning permission.

Permitted development rights usually apply to houses only, and do not include flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Houses in conservation areas and listed buildings are also not included.

For residential extensions, there have been a few new developments in the past few years:

It is now possible to extend a single dwelling at the rear from 4m to 8m (for detached houses) and from 3m to 6m (for all other houses), in non-conservation areas. No changes are proposed for extensions of more than one storey. It is necessary to apply to the council for Prior Approval (neighbours consultation scheme) to allow the neighbours an opportunity to comment on the proposal. If the neighbours do not object, the application proposal will be approved within 42 days. This scheme is only valid until 30 May 2019. Therefore if you are proposing to extend beyond 3m depth for a semi detached house or a terraced house, you will need to obtain Prior Approval from the Council and complete the construction works prior to 30th May 2019. 

The government have also implemented additional changes to the PD rights allowing for extensions to shops and professional/financial services and even industrial units/ establishments to 100 sq m without requiring planning permission, and allowing the building of these extensions up to the boundary of the property (except where the boundary is with a residential property), in non-conservation areas. These extensions also require an application called "Prior Approval" and generally take 42-56 days to be determined. 

The latest allowances to the Permitted Development rules are the provision of converting offices and shops to residential units under the "Prior Approval" application process. 4D Planning have obtained permission for the conversion of offices and shops into hundreds of residential units all over the UK since 2014. If you wish to discuss your project, we offer a free phone consultation and a free quote for our services.

4D Planning's consultants are able to advise you whether your proposed extension falls under Permitted Development or whether you will need to apply for planning permission. If you are entitled to build under Permitted Development, then it is recommended to prepare an application to the local council for a “Certificate of Lawfulness” or "Prior Approval". You will need a full set of scaled architectural drawings showing the existing site and buildings as well as all the proposals. 4D Planning will prepare all the documentation and architectural drawings, all to scale, to meet all the validation requirements of the local council.


We look forward to assisting you as well with your planning and architectural requirements. Please get in touch for a free consultation and free quote.

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