What do the 2020 changes to permitted development mean?

Home Extension How it works
Home & Maker Thu Oct 08 2020 10:38:07 GMT+0100 (British Summer Time)

New permitted development rights came into effect at the end of last year, meaning that if you’re a homeowner in England, and you’re considering adding a larger-scale extension to your home, you may be able to do this without requiring formal planning consent.

The updated permitted development rights cover a range of different project types, including changes to use classes, and being able to extend a block of flats above three storeys by up to two further storeys.

However, a key change for homeowners means that you can also add up to two storeys to your home under new permitted development rights. More specifically, this breaks down to allow for up to two additional storeys if your existing property is currently at least two storeys, and an additional one storey on top of an existing one-storey property.

Existing permitted development rights have offered a more efficient planning process for a range of small scale changes to your home, by removing the need for these to go through full planning permission with your Local Council. Builds that previously fell under permitted development rights still do - you can find our breakdown of these here - in addition to the projects that this has now been extended to include.


To understand whether the 2020 update to permitted development rights apply to the project you have in mind, we would always recommend consulting the planning team at your Local Authority, which you can easily find using the Planning Portal.

In general, some some restrictions do apply, including:

  • Your home is located in a Conservation Area, National Park, Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Site or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads
  • Your property was constructed before 1 July 1948 or after 28 October 2018
  • Your house has already been enlarged by the addition of one or more storeys

You’ll notice Listed Buildings are not an exemption to this rule, although you will need to apply for Listed Building Consent for any works that will impact your building’s architectural or historical merit.

For eligible projects, the new rules will make it easier to provide much-needed space for families as they grow and adapt. Plus, with the permitted development process generally more efficient when compared to applying for traditional planning permission, this could be a great opportunity for homeowners to have more options when it comes to extending their existing properties, rather than moving.

As part of the new regulations you’ll need to ensure that your new addition does not exceed a maximum height of 18m, with no more than 3.5m above the highest part of your terrace or adjoined semi detached. The new rights also require the external appearance of your extension/additional floors to be in keeping with your original home, with careful consideration given to its impact on light and privacy levels of your neighbours. The usual building regulations will also need to be adhered to.

The recent announcements shaking up planning permission have been a welcome change for homeowners around the country. If you’re keen to explore the opportunities these new regulations may offer for your home, our team of online architects and designers are here to help advise and guide you through the process - why not start now with our free cost calculator or by booking in for a complimentary consultation call here.

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