What Are Prior Notification Submissions?

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

There are certain permitted development rights for which you are required to submit a prior notification submission to your local development control department before those rights can be enacted. For instance, there is the Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension. There is also the Application for Prior Notification of Proposed Agricultural or Forestry Development. These are two examples of development under the General Permitted Development Order (GDPO) to which prior notification approval is required. Recently the GDPO has been changed to remove the limited right of May 30th 2019 for the larger home extension scheme. It is now a permanent right, depending on application meeting the other criteria.

Notification of a Proposed Larger Home Extension

Since May 2013 householders with existing PD rights could build a larger home extension. The size of a permissible rear single-storey extension increased from 4m to 8m for a detached dwelling, and from 3m to 6m for a semi-detached dwelling. The dwelling must be outside of Article 2(3) land, which includes National Parks, an area of Oustanding National Beatury, a Conservation Area or land within a World Heritage Site. The dwelling can also not be located within Sites of Special Scientific Interest.

Larger Home Extension Prior Notification
To benefit from the Larger Home Extension permitted development rights you have to submit a Prior Notification application.

The rights to larger home extensions were set to end on the 30th May 2019. However, they are now a permanent PD right. You also no longer have to notify the local authority once the works under the larger home extension scheme are completed. However, you do have to submit a larger home extension prior notification application in all cases.

Can you Submit a Prior Notification Submission Retrospectively?

No, it’s important to note you cannot submit a prior notification for a large home extension retrospectively. Therefore this means if you have already built the 6m/8m extension it may become subject to enforcement action. If so it may be possible to submit a retrospective planning application in an attempt to keep the extension. However, it will be considered under various amenity considerations. These will include the impact on your neighbours (loss of light/privacy) as well as other planning considerations.

Prior Notification Process for Larger Homes Extension

While it is still technically feasible to take advantage of these GDPO rights, let’s look at the process. Unlike a householder, full planning or lawful development certificate (LDC), there previously was no charge for prior notification for a larger homes extension. However, the amended regulations now state a charge will be introduced. Once the required form and information has been submitted, the local authority will notify your neighbours. The neighbours contacted will be those who share a boundary to your property.

Before a prior notification for a larger home extension is submitted a review of the planning history for the dwelling will be required. The size of the original dwelling and the size of the original curtilage will impact the success of the application. 

There is then a 42 day determination period. If within 21 days a neighbour objection is received, the amenity impacts on all adjoining properties will be reviewed. Therefore the amenity impacts of any neighbour who did not submit an objection would also be considered. If no neighbour objections are received then the local planning authority will conclude prior approval is not required. There is some debate whether approval of the prior notification process is sufficient evidence of lawful development. Therefore, after the prior notification process for a large home extension has been completed, it may be prudent to apply for an LDC for the same development.

Application for Prior Notification of Proposed Agricultural or Forestry Development

Depending on the size of the agricultural unit, various rights exist within the GDPO for development. Those rights include the erection of buildings under specific criteria and the installation of access roads. Again, you have to apply to the local planning authority to inquire if a determination on prior approval is required before the development can take place.

Prior Notification for Farm Buildings
With prior notification for farm buildings significant development can be approved under the GDPO.

The local planning authority has 28 days to inform the applicant of its decision. The local planning authority could inform the applicant the proposals require a full application. Or they will either provide approval or refusal of the prior notification application. Depending on the proposal sometimes pre-application advice from the local authority may be useful to clarify the situation.

Reasonably Necessary For Agriculture/Forestry

It is important to note that any application made for buildings or roads under the GDPO needs to be presented as reasonably necessary for that purpose. For instance, if this is a new agricultural operation or a hobby the ‘reasonably necessary’ aspect of the GDPO has not been met. There is obviously a chick and egg scenario here though, “how can a start a new farming business without the required buildings?”.

Help with Prior Notification Applications

If you have a project and you believe you need to submit a prior notification to the local authority send me a message via the contact form and we can discuss it more 🙂