I have PD (Permitted Development Rights) for a ground floor rear extension, 6 or 8 metres long…meaning I do not need to apply for planning permission… so can I just build it?

Q: I want to build a ground floor rear extension, 6 or 8 metres long. I understand that we have PD (Permitted Development Rights) to do this, meaning I do not need to apply or planning permission – so can I just build it?

The short answer is: No. You cannot build your extension without first applying for a Prior Notification.

The long answer is: Under the permitted development rights, the original (as it stood in or prior to 1948) rear wall of a detached house can be extended up to 8 metres in depth with a single storey extension, and up to 6 metres if you live in a semi-detached or terrace house. First you need to establish that your house has PD rights. Some homes are in a conservation area or designated land, including other “protected” areas, such as National Parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads or a World Heritage Site/Listed building. Some local authorities may also have removed PD rights by introducing an Article 4 direction for your house/area. In these cases, you will not have PD rights on your property, and you will need to apply for planning permission for works that would normally be covered under PD. However, even in those areas you can still build a 3- or 4-metre rear extension, depending on if you live in a semidetached or terrace house.

Flats, maisonettes or any other types of building other than a single dwelling house, do not have the PD rights at all. This means that you won’t be able to build your extension, or any type of extension (even a shed in the back garden), without full planning permission. Also, be aware that if your property has an enforcement notice, it will not have the benefit of any PD rights.

How do I apply?

Before building a 6-metre (on a semi-detached or terrace house) or 8-metre (on a detached house) single storey rear extension you will need to apply for prior approval/notification to the local council, informing them that you are wanting to build this extension. You will also need to supply a full pack of existing and proposed drawings, including sizes and elevations. The council will send notification to the neighbouring properties with which your house shares boundaries (adjoining and rear neighbours) for the proposed development.

If no objections are received from the neighbours, you automatically get approval after 42 days. If any objections are received from the neighbours then the council will evaluate the impact cause to the neighbouring properties in terms of daylight/sunlight, loss of privacy or outlook. You may need to demonstrate that there is no harm caused to the neighbouring properties from the proposed development.

After you receive your decision of approval for the extension, you will need to get engineering and building regulation drawings and submit those to building control (either using the council or a private building control firm). 

The above requirement for building control is for any type of structural work, even redoing your roof or a small 3-metre back extension.

When should I submit my application to the building control?

The building control application, as well as the drawings, must be submitted at least five days before commencing the works. This is called an “Initial Notice.” Once you have received approval from building control, you can start the construction. It’s also beneficial to have a chat with a party wall surveyor before starting any structural works, especially if you are intending to build on the boundary or close to it.   


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