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 1995but several amendments have been introduced and implemented over the years.
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.
You should also note that the local planning authority may have removed some of your permitted development rights by issuing an Article 4 direction. This will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one. Article 4 directions are made when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas. You will probably know if your property is affected by such a direction, but you can check with the local planning authority if you are not sure.
4D Planning are able to advise you whether your proposed extension falls under Permitted Development and is "lawful" or whether you will need to apply for planning permission. If you are entitled to build under Permitted Development, then you will need to prepare an application to the local council for a “Certificate of Lawfulness” or a Certificate of Lawful Use. You will need a full set of scaled architectural drawings showing the existing property and the proposed layouts and changes to the property. 4D Planning's consultants will prepare all the documentation and architectural drawings, all to scale, to meet all the requirements of the local Council.
If you want to be certain that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission, you can apply for a 'Lawful Development Certificate' (LDC). For example if works were carried out to the property without planning permission, and you are thinking of selling your house in the future, it is best to obtain the LDC to ensure that the sale of the house runs smoothly and that the building works will not complicate the purchase/sale of the house. It is not compulsory to have an LDC but there are times when it is necessary to confirm that the use, operation or activity is considered "lawful" for planning control purposes. This also provides peace of mind to the property owner.
The Council charge £103 for a lawful development application for residential extensions and £462 for Change of Use applications and for creation of flats or an HMO.
A property might be in breach of planning but would be exempt from enforcement action if there is "Established Use". This would usually be the case if a property was extended without the benefit of planning permission or if the property was converted into separate units or any other type of development without prior approval from the Council. In this case, the applicant may apply for a Lawful Development Certificate from the Council on the basis that there is 4 years of evidence for residential extensions and conversions to flats, or 10 years for commercial and other uses.
Next Question: How to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness?
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