Permitted Development Rights for single storey extensions to be made permanent

The government has pledged to make Permitted Development Rights (PDRs) for single storey extensions permanent, offering growth opportunities to the home improvement sector.

PDRs were introduced on a temporary basis in 2008 to cut the bureaucracy for homeowners wanting to make home improvements. The aim was to help the UK get building again following the banking crisis and ensuing credit crunch.

The government appears to be turning once again to PDRs to keep a home improvement sector, which is starting to feel the effects of lower levels of consumer confidence, moving again.

PDRs effectively run out at the end of May. If you have extended your home under them, work must be completed by the end of the month to qualify.

“With consumers favouring extensions of their properties rather than upping sticks and moving home, a permanent extension of PDRs should be expected to deliver significant growth in home improvements,” Ian Woolley, sales director at HiTech Blinds, said.

The key feature of the Permitted Development Scheme is that it removes the requirement for planning on single storey extensions, as long as they comply with a series of criteria. Although not an exhaustive list this includes:

  • Any extension is limited to a single storey and the height of that extension cannot exceed the height of the roof of the existing property or a maximum of 4m.
  • There are also a series of restrictions on how far you can build out from your property depending on its type, and if your development is at the side or the rear of the property.
    • Rear – your new conservatory must not extend beyond 3m from the original property in an attached house, and 4m in a detached property. It also can’t exceed more than half the space around the original property
    • Side – no more than half that of the original house. The same restrictions apply on space around the original house.

The original pledge was made in the Autumn 2017 Budget Statement, which committed to a consultation, completed at the beginning of this year.

This was meant to have led to a definitive statement on April 1. This didn’t, however, materialise as the UK lurched from one EU leave date to the next. Challenges to separate proposals to allow PDRs to facilitate office-to-residential conversions because of concerns about the quality of housing they deliver, also continue to rumble in the background delaying an announcement.

A written statement in answer to parliamentary questions from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on March 13, however, commits to “make permanent the time-limited right to build larger single storey rear extensions to dwelling houses and to introduce a proportionate fee”.

An official statement made to Glass Times said: “As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of March 13, we intend to make the right permanent. To do so we need to make regulations. The government intends to bring forward a package of permitted development rights measures in due course. That would include making permanent the right for larger single storey rear extensions.”

“We will be interested to see quite what this ‘proportionate fee is’ but as long as it’s set at a sensible level, a permanent extension of PDRs is a very positive step,” Ian said.

“Current market conditions are creating a level of challenge but there are also opportunities. Removing red-rape from the planning process on a permanent basis will deliver an immediate win for the home improvement sector.”