We recommend that homeowners have their extensions or loft conversions designed within Permitted Development guidelines. This is to ensure that the costs and timescales of the approval phase are reduced by 8 weeks, and you can also save on the cost of your Architect or Surveyor preparing and submitting a Householder planning application – typically a 25% – 30% saving on planning fees. 

The guideline for Permitted Development changed on 1st October 2008 and again on 1st October 2010 to allow homeowners to build extensions (both single and two storey) and loft conversions within specific guidelines.

David Cameron’s government thought it wise to further expand these allowances on 1st October 2012. However, the consultation process which ended ambiguously on 13th December 2013 has yet to result in the promised aimless increase.

We have gone on record and stated that we believe that this relaxation of the Town and Country planning laws will have very little positive impact on the residential sector.  Increasing the depth of permitted extensions from 3 metres to 6 metres for terraced properties and 4 metres to 8 metres for semi-detached and detached properties. These increases will only be of value if homeowners can afford the cost of the supersized extension, which from my experience is wishful thinking.

stack of coins imageThe 2008 change in permitted development saw the end of the cumulative total volume restriction of 40 cubic metres and 50 cubic metres for terraced and semi-detached properties respectively. We recently advised a builder that his client’s loft conversion had no effect on the permitted development allowances of Merton Council for a proposed wrap-around side and rear extension. He was able to start the building works 2-months earlier (good for cashflow) and we generated savings of £472.00 for the planning phase as he had intended to submit a planning application.

We also recently challenged Mole Valley District Council pre-application advice with the implementation of permitted development guidance in the Green Belt. We were amazed at the extent of development work that could be carried out, despite other restrictions.

That said, our clients often prefer to submit application for Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) despite understanding the allowances. The application provides written confirmation or otherwise. By definition, it is a planning application to determine whether a planning application is required! The LDC is half the cost of a Householder’s application – £86.00 but is determined within the same statutory 8-week period. This avoids any risk of the validity of the extension being challenged at a point in the future e.g. moving house.

Whether you design within permitted development or within your council design guidelines, this will reduce the cost of a refused application. Avoid planning appeals (they can be expensive!)as well as delays and the disappointment of having to re-submit the application #design like a property professional.