Home  >  News & Insight  >  New Permitted Development rules from 1 August 2020

New Permitted Development rules from 1 August 2020

On 1 August 2020, new Permitted Development (“PD”) rules come into force that grant planning permission for self-contained flats to be constructed on top of certain existing, purpose-built blocks of flats.

Euan Kellie of Euan Kellie Property Solutions explains the reasoning behind the rules and what they may mean for the sector.

The introduction of the new PD rules form part of the Government’s measures to speed up the planning system to assist in the delivery of new homes.

Whilst on the face of it this is positive news, it is important to note that there are a number of important specific rules that will apply, some of which are summarised here:

  • The PD rights will apply to buildings constructed after 1 July 1948 and before 5 July 2018, and expressly exclude buildings converted to residential via existing PD rights. This therefore means that buildings converted from the use from which they were built – whether with planning permission or not – do not benefit.
  • The existing flats must not be – or form part of – a listed building or scheduled monument or land within its curtilage, and they must not lie in a Conservation Area. Flats in other locations commonly prohibited from permitted development may not be extended, including: areas of outstanding natural beauty; sites of specific scientific interest; the broads; national parks; world heritage sites; safety hazard areas; military explosives storage areas or land within three kilometres of the perimeter of an aerodrome.
  • There are maximum and minimum heights: existing buildings must be at least three storeys, measured from ground level; the floor-to-ceiling height of any additional storey must not be more than three metres in height, or more than the floor-to-ceiling height of any of the existing storeys (whichever is the lesser, where such heights are measured internally); the overall height of the roof of the extended building must not be greater than seven metres higher than the highest part of the existing roof (not including existing plant); and, the extended building (not including plant) must not be greater than 30 metres in height.
  • Although a planning application is not required, developers must have ‘prior approval’ from the local planning authority. This requires consideration of eight technical matters including transport and highways effects, external appearance, and flooding.  It does not require public consultation other than notification of neighbours and erection of a site notice. Should a planning authority refuse to issue a certificate confirming the project has planning permission, the developer may appeal.
  • The proposed developments may potentially be liable for Section 106 Contributions and also the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Euan commented, “Further details are awaited in relation to determination timescales, fees and affordable housing eligibility, at which point it will be interesting to see how the new provisions compare to the submission of a planning application for the same works.

At the moment, it is not entirely clear what the full benefits of such prior approval applications may be.”


The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.

Posted by Cowgills
23rd July, 2020
Get in touch with Cowgills