Larger Home Extensions are Here To Stay

Planning Consultant - Chris Scott
Hi, I’m Chris,
I hold an MA in Planning and work as a Planning Consultant

Since May 30th 2013 homeowners whose properties still hold PD rights have been able to build larger home extensions. Those rights included the following for single-storey rear extensions:

  • For semi-detached dwellings, the extension limit increased from 3m to 6m.
  • For detached dwellings, the extension limit increased from 4m to 8m.

These rules were set to end on the 30th of May 2019. There has been a rush to submit and receive approval through the prior notification system for larger home extensions. Unlike planning permission where approval applies for several years, in this case, the rights ended on May 30th 2019. Therefore the work had to be completed and the local authority informed before this date. If not, and the rights expired it was possible that local enforcement departs could get involved.

Larger Home Extension Scheme Kitchen
With the Large Home Extension Scheme its been possible to make new large open plan layouts without planning permission

Update on Larger Home Extensions – March 2019

On the 13th of March 2019, the current Secretary of State for Housing James Brokenshire released a Ministerial Statement which you can read here. Within this statement, there was information on amendments to various permitted development rights. Of particular interest was this statement:

“We will also make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwellinghouses and to introduce a proportionate fee.”

Currently to take advantage of the larger homes extension PD rights you have to submit a Notification of Prior Approval form to your local authority. As part of that process, your neighbours are made aware of your larger home extension proposals. If one neighbour raises an objection the local authority will review the amenity impacts of your proposal. The local authority will then make a determination within 42 days if the effect on amenity is acceptable or not.

Notably up until now to submit a Notification of Prior Approval was free. From the Written Ministerial Statement from March 13th it now appears a fee will be introduced for this application. Other prior approval applications for agricultural and forestry applications currently incur a fee of £96. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised if this fee was introduced for larger home extension prior approval applications.

Larger Home Extensions and the Fall Back Position

I’m sure many other architects and planning consultants will be very happy to see the larger home extension PD rights will become permanent. It can often provide more options for a client to achieve the scale of development they are looking for without the need for planning permission. Using the larger home extension rights along with other PD rights for side extensions, dormers etc can significantly increase the size of a dwelling. However, these PD rights can also be useful to demonstrate a ‘fall back position’ to provide support for a planning application.

What is the Fall Back Position?

A court case in 2014 (Gambone v SSCLG and Wolverhampton City Council [2014] EWHC 952) considered the ‘fall back’ position. The question being is there “a greater than theoretical possibility”  that other development may take place as an alternative to the proposals.

So let’s say for instance you are looking to build a replacement home and there are various policy restrictions in place. Green Belt restrictions are a good example. Current Green Belt policy states that the replacement dwelling must not be “materially larger than the one it replaces“.

With PD rights such as a larger home extension, you can often demonstrate that significant additions could lawfully be made. Before submitting the planning application for the replacement home, you submit and receive approval for the larger home extension via the notification of prior approval. You should also secure a lawful development certificate for other PD rights, such as side extensions and dormers. Finally, as part of your submitted plans for the replacement dwelling, illustrate all of the PD rights and calculate floor areas.

Through the above, it can be possible to secure approval in some cases for a larger replacement dwelling, above what planning policy may appear to allow. Through effectively demonstrating the ‘fall back’ position you have made the PD rights a material consideration in the determination of your planning application for a replacement dwelling.

Following all the PD Rules

As stated above the maximum depth of the extension is either 6m or 8m in their respective cases. However, you still need to follow the other PD rules:

  • The extension cannot lead to development of over 50% of the dwellings curtilage.
  • Not allowed on Article 2 (3) land, Conservation Areas or a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
  • Cannot be part of a rear two-storey extension.
  • Eaves height below 3m if within 2m of the property boundary.
  • Extension eaves to be no higher than the eaves of the existing house.
  • A maximum height of 4m, and below the ridgeline of the existing house.

Assistance With Larger Home Extension Permitted Development Rights

Do you need assistance to check if your home still holds its PD rights? Are you sure a larger home extension is viable for your property? I can conduct a planning history review of your property to check if PD rights were removed. Please use the contact form to provide details of your property. 🙂