CAD Divider

Important changes to permitted development rights proposed

Feb 28, 2024

By Laura Potts MRTPI, Planning Consultant, CAD Planning

On 13th February 2024, the Government published a consultation paper where it outlined proposed planning regulation changes that would extend the permitted development rights – for works that can be carried out without the need for planning permission.

This particular consultation affects England only at this stage. In total, the consultation covers the following aspects:

  • Changes to certain permitted development rights which enable householders to improve and enlarge their homes.
  • Changes to the building upwards permitted development rights which enable the upward extension of a range of existing buildings.
  • Changes to the permitted development right which allows for the demolition of certain buildings and rebuild as homes.
  • Changes to the permitted development rights which enable the installation of electrical outlets and upstands for recharging electric vehicles.
  • Changes to the permitted development right for the installation of air source heat pumps.

Why is this change being proposed?

The main driver for this proposed change is the national housing shortage. With the number of new houses being built falling well behind what is needed for our growing population, the relaxing of permitted development rights could allow more people to be accommodated within the existing housing stock. The government describes this approach as ‘gentle densification.’

Let’s take a look at some of the most notable aspects of what is being proposed.

Extensions to dwellings and other permitted alterations

The rules currently allow for single storey extensions of up to 4m on detached and 3m on terraced and semi-detached properties. The proposal is to increase this to 5m and 4m respectively.

The rules also permit double storey extensions of 3m as long as the extension is at least 7m from the rear boundary. The proposal is to increase this to 4m and do away with the 7m rule where the rear boundary is shared by non-residential use. With two storey extensions, the overall height will remain at 4m, but in cases where the new extension is not visible from the street, it could be as high as the existing roof.

The current restriction on items such as outbuildings, extensions, and decking is that they are limited to 50% of the curtilage. The proposal is to scrap this limit.

Another important element is that it is proposed to allow wrap-around single storey rear extensions. So it would be possible to build a single storey extension that runs from the back of the property and down the side elevation of the building.

Alterations to the roof (dormers etc.)

At the moment dormers or other alterations are limited to 50 cubic metres on detached and semi-detached properties and 40 cubic metres on terraced houses.  The proposal is to remove this limit.

Currently, dormers must be set back 20cm from the eaves. The proposal is to remove this where the dormer is not visible from the street.

Proposals also suggest that the roof could be raised by 30 centimetres in addition to the dormer.

The new rules could lead to dormers being allowed on flats or maisonettes. Currently roof alterations to flats require planning permission.

Other alterations to the roof (velux roof windows etc.)

Currently you are limited to 15 centimetres protrusion with a window. The proposal is to only keep this where the roof slope fronts a highway. Elsewhere on the property this would be removed.


It is also proposed that the  limitation on the use of loft space is removed so that householders can convert as much of their loft space as is available.


Currently outbuildings are not allowed forward of the front elevation. The proposal is to change this to allow bin and bike stores to be erected under permitted development. The structures would be limited to 2m wide, 1m deep and 1.5m in height.

What has been the reaction to these proposals?

It is fair to say that the reaction within the industry has been mixed. While this is potentially very good news for homeowners who want to expand their property, the absence of an approval process could lead to more disagreements and disputes between neighbours. It is not clear from these proposals what checks and balances might be put in place to avoid this happening.

What happens next?

This consultation will close on 9th April 2024. If it is decided to go ahead with the proposals, then legislation could be brought before Parliament in autumn 2024.

Impartial, expert advice

At CAD Planning, we are on top of all the detail on local planning regulations and how they could affect your project.

We have the expertise needed to develop a successful planning strategy and will guide you carefully through every step of the process.

For information about current permitted development allowances you can consult the Legislation within The Town and Country (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015, as amended, and specifically Schedule 2 (Permitted Development Rights):

Alternatively, you can visit a more user-friendly guide, the interactive house, on the Planning Portal for more information:

For a no-obligation discussion about your project, get in touch with our expert team at