What are householder permitted development rights?

Householder permitted development rights cover certain changes (“developments”) that can be made to existing houses and their gardens without any need to apply for planning permission. 

Do all houses have householder permitted development rights?

The following types of residential properties do not have any householder permitted development rights:

  1. Houses created by the conversion of a building under a permitted development right. For example, a house converted from an agricultural building under “Class Q” of the The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 [as amended]
  1. Flats.

Otherwise, most normal houses will have householder permitted development rights unless they have previously been removed or restricted by the local council. 

There are also a couple of ways that local councils can remove or restrict permitted development rights. 

The first is by using Article 4 directions. With an Article 4 direction, permitted development rights can be restricted or removed from a single house, a row of houses or a whole neighbourhood area. They are often used in Conservation Areas and other sensitive locations where certain permitted developments (e.g. replacing timber windows with UPVC units) would cause harm. Use the button below to find out more about Article 4 directions.

In addition, a local council can remove or restrict householder permitted development rights when they issue a grant of planning permission. In these cases, the decision notice will include a condition that tells you exactly which householder permitted development rights have been restricted (see example below). You should always check your house’s planning history to find out if permitted development rights have been restricted in this way.

Example of householder permitted development rights being restricted by way of a condition attached to a decision notice

Listed buildings have some householder permitted development rights but not all. Most changes to listed buildings – whether they are covered by permitted development rights or not – will require a separate application for Listed Building Consent. Use the button below to find out more about Listed Building Consent applications.

What changes do householder permitted development rights cover?

Householder permitted development rights cover the following categories (known as “classes”):

There are a number of other general permitted development rights that apply to most houses. These include:

  • Gates, walls and fences
  • Exterior painting
  • CCTV cameras
  • Charging points for electric vehicles
  • Renewable energy measures, including:
    • Solar panels
    • Air, water and ground source heat pumps
    • Wind turbines.

The following structures are not covered by any householder permitted development rights and will always require a full planning application: 

  • verandahs
  • balconies
  • raised platforms.

Each permitted development category (or class) is subject to a number of limitations and conditions, e.g. on the dimensions, position and materials of the new addition. A change will only be “permitted development” if it complies with all applicable limitations and conditions. 

If your development includes a combination of different permitted development classes, it will need to comply with all relevant rules within the various classes. For example, if you build a single-storey rear extension under Class A and a dormer window under Class B, you’ll need to make sure your development complies with all relevant rules in Classes A and B.

The main limitations and conditions associated with each householder permitted development class (A – H) appear in the drop-down lists below. Please note that these rules are not necessarily exhaustive. 

Do I need to submit an application to my local council?

You can find the answer to this question on our main “permitted development rights” page. You can access this page using button below.

The only householder permitted development rights currently subject to prior approval are larger rear extensions (under Class A) and upward extensions (under Class AA) – more on these below.

What are the permitted development rules for home extensions (Class A)?

Class A is concerned with “enlargements, improvements or alterations of the house”. It covers the following types of domestic extension only:

  1. Single-storey rear extension (smaller & larger)
  2. Two-storey plus rear extension
  3. Single-storey side extension.

If your development includes a combination of Class A extension types – e.g. single-storey rear extension PLUS single-storey side extension – it will need to comply with the rules for single-storey rear extensions AND single-storey side extensions (see lists below).

The following limitations and conditions apply to ALL Class A extensions:

Limitations

  • No more than 50% of the total domestic site (excluding the area occupied by the house when first built) can be covered by buildings
  • The house cannot be increased in height
  • No new eaves can be higher than the house’s existing eaves
  • No extension beyond an original front wall of the house
  • No extension beyond an original side wall of the house IF this faces a road
  • No extension within 2 metres of a site boundary if its eaves height is greater than 3 metres.

Conditions

The most important conditions are:

  • External materials must be similar in appearance to the existing house (except conservatories)
  • Any upper-floor side windows (wall or roofslope) must be obscure-glazed AND non-opening unless the opening parts are at least 1.7m above the floor of the room
  • The roof pitch of upper-floor extensions should be the same as the house’s roof pitch. 

If your extension would not comply with all of the above rules, it’s not permitted development. This doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be built. However, you will need to apply for planning permission. You can find out more about getting permission for domestic extensions using the button below.

If your extension would comply with all of the above rules, you now need to check it complies with the relevant set(s) of rules below.

Limitations for smaller single storey rear extensions

  • Maximum height of 4 metres
  • Extension beyond the house’s original rear wall by a maximum of:
    • 4 metres for a detached house
    • 3 metres for any other house.

Limitations for larger single storey rear extensions*

*This right does not apply in Conservation Areas, AONBs, National Parks, the Broads or World Heritage Sites.

  • Maximum height of 4 metres
  • Extension beyond the house’s original rear wall by a maximum of:
    • 8 metres for a detached house
    • 6 metres for any other house
  • You must make an application for your local council’s prior approval before commencing works**.

**Larger rear extensions belong to a special category of permitted development that is “subject to prior approval”. This means that unlike most permitted development rights, you must submit an application to your local council prior to commencing works. Your council will consult your immediate neighbours and if any object, they will assess the impact of the extension on neighbouring properties. If this impact is found to be unacceptable, the council will refuse prior approval and you may not proceed.

Use the button below to find out more about the prior approval process.

Limitations for two-storey (plus) rear extensions*

*This right does not apply in Conservation Areas, AONBs, National Parks, the Broads or World Heritage Sites.

  • Extension beyond the house’s original rear wall by a maximum of 3 metres
  • No extension within 7 metres of a site boundary that is located opposite the house’s rear wall.

Limitations for single storey side extensions*

*This right does not apply in Conservation Areas, AONBs, National Parks, the Broads or World Heritage Sites.

  • Maximum height of 4 metres
  • Maximum width is half the width of the original house.

Permitted development rules only cover the most basic of domestic extensions. If your domestic extension does not comply with all relevant permitted development rules, you can still apply to your local council for planning permission. You can find out more about securing planning permission for a domestic extension – including how to approach its design & what matters your local council will take into account – using the button below.

What are the permitted development rules for enlargement of the house by construction of additional storeys (Class AA)?

Class AA is concerned with “enlargement of the house by construction of additional storeys”. It covers upward extensions of existing houses. This right was first introduced in August 2020.

This right does NOT apply:

  • If the original house has already been extended upward
  • In National Parks, the Broads, AONBs, World Heritage Sites, Conservation Areas or Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • To houses constructed before 01/07/1948 or after 28/10/2018.

The following limitations and conditions apply to ALL upward extensions.

Limitations

  • If the existing house has two or more storeys, it can be extended upward by no more than two storeys
  • Additional storeys must be located immediately above the existing house’s topmost storey
  • Additional storeys must be located above the principal part of the house (i.e. not above any front, side or rear extensions)
  • The house cannot be increased in height to more than 18 metres
  • The floor to ceiling height of any additional storey (measured internally) cannot exceed whichever is the lower of:
    • 3 metres
    • The floor to ceiling height of any existing storey in the principal part of the house.
  • No visible support structures can be left on or attached to the exterior of the house upon completion of the extension. 

Conditions

The most important conditions are:

  • Construction materials must be similar in appearance to the existing house
  • No side windows
  • New roof pitch must be the same as the existing roof pitch
  • You must make an application for your local council’s prior approval before commencing works*.

*Class AA upward extensions belong to a special category of permitted development that is “subject to prior approval”. This means that unlike most permitted development rights, you must make an application to the council prior to commencing works. The council will consider the impact of the upward extension on:

  • Neighbouring properties, including their privacy and access to light
  • The external appearance of the house
  • Air traffic and defence
  • Protected views. 

The developer must also: 

  • Supply the council with a construction management plan prior to commencing works
  • Complete the development within 3 years of the prior approval date
  • Notify the council when the development is complete. 

Click the button below to find out more about the prior approval process.

If your upward extension would comply with all of the above rules, you now need to check it complies with the relevant set(s) of rules below.

Limitations for houses with a single storey

  • It can be extended upward by no more than one storey
  • The highest part of the new roof must not exceed its existing height by more than 3.5 metres.

Limitations for houses with two or more storeys

  • It can be extended upward by no more than two storeys
  • The highest part of the new roof must not exceed its existing height by more than 7 metres.

Limitations for semi-detached houses

  • It cannot exceed the height of any house with which it shares a wall by more than 3.5 metres.

Limitations for terraced houses

  • It cannot exceed the height of any house in the terrace row by more than 3.5 metres.

What are the permitted development rules for additions to the roof (Class B)?

Class B is concerned with “additions etc. to the roof”. It mainly covers loft conversions, dormer windows and hip-to-gable extensions. Chimneys, flues etc. are not covered by this class. 

This right does not apply in National Parks, the Broads, AONBs, World Heritage Sites or Conservation Areas.

Main limitations

  • The house cannot be increased in height
  • No extension beyond a roof plane if it is located at the front of the house AND faces a road
  • Total cubic content of the roof space cannot exceed the house’s original roof space by more than:
    • 40 cubic metres for a terraced house
    • 50 cubic metres for any other house.

Main conditions

  • External materials must be similar in appearance to the existing house
  • Any side windows must be obscure-glazed AND non-opening unless the opening parts are at least 1.7m above the floor of the room.

Unless your addition under Class B is a hip-to-gable enlargement or an enlargement adjoining the original roof to the roof of a new rear or side extension, the following conditions also apply*:

  • The eaves of the original roof must be maintained or reinstated
  • A gap of at least 0.2 metres must be maintained between the new addition and the outside edge of the eaves
  • No part of the addition can extend beyond the outside face of any original, external wall of the house. 

*These conditions mainly apply to dormer windows.

Permitted development rules only cover the most basic of loft conversions. If your loft conversion, dormer window or hip-to-gable extension does not comply with all relevant permitted development rules, you can still apply to your local council for planning permission. You can find out more about securing planning permission for loft conversions using the button below.

What are the permitted development rules for other alterations to the roof (Class C)?

Class C is concerned with “other alterations to the roof”. It mainly covers rooflights. Chimneys, flues etc. are not covered by this class, nor are solar panels or related equipment. 

Main limitations

  • No alteration can protrude more than 0.15 metres beyond the plane of the original roof slope
  • The house cannot be increased in height.

Main conditions

  • Any side windows must be obscure-glazed AND non-opening unless the opening parts are at least 1.7m above the floor of the room.

What are the permitted development rules for porches (Class D)?

Class D covers porches that are built outside any external door of a house. 

Main limitations

  • The ground area (measured externally) covered by the structure cannot exceed 3 square metres
  • No part of the structure can be more than 3 metres above ground level
  • No part of the structure can be within 2 metres of a site boundary if that boundary is next to a road. 

What are the permitted development rules for buildings etc. (Class E)?

Class E covers detached buildings located in the grounds of a house, including detached garages, swimming pools, summerhouses, sheds, oil/gas containers and enclosures. 

All buildings under class E must be provided for a purpose “incidental” to the main house. This excludes primary living accommodation such as bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens (consequently, granny annexes and self-contained dwellings are also excluded). 

This right does not apply to listed buildings (or land within their curtilage). Additional restrictions apply in National Parks, the Broads, AONBs, World Heritage Sites and Conservation Areas.

Main limitations

  • No more than 50% of the total domestic site (excluding the area occupied by the house when first built) can be covered by buildings
  • No part of any building can be located forwards of an original front wall of the house
  • The building cannot have more than a single storey
  • The height of the building cannot exceed the following maximums: 
    • 4 metres if the building has a dual-pitched roof
    • 2.5 metres if the building is within 2 metres of a site boundary
    • 3 metres in any other case.
  • The height of the building’s eaves cannot exceed 2.5 metres
  • If the building is a container, its capacity cannot exceed 3500 litres. 

What are the permitted development rules for hard surfaces (Class F)?

Class F covers the new provision or replacement of domestic hard surfaces such as driveways and patios. 

All hard surfaces under class F must be provided for a purpose “incidental” to the main house. For the most part, this just means it needs to be for the normal use of the site’s domestic occupants.

There are no limitations for this class and only a small number of conditions.

Main conditions

  • If the new hard surface measures 5 square metres or more AND is positioned between the front wall of the house and a road it MUST:
    • be made of porous materials OR
    • provision must be made to direct run-off water to a permeable or porous area within the site. 

What are the permitted development rules for chimneys, flues etc. (Class G)?

Class G covers the installation, alteration or replacement of domestic chimneys, flues and soil & vent pipes. 

Main limitations

  • The chimney, flue or soil & vent pipe cannot exceed the highest part of the existing roof by 1 metre or more. 

Additional restrictions apply in National Parks, the Broads, AONBs, World Heritage Sites and Conservation Areas.

What are the permitted development rules for microwave antenna (Class H)?

Class H covers the installation, alteration or replacement of microwave antenna such as satellite dishes and TV aerials. 

Main limitations

  • No more than 2 antennas to be installed throughout the site
  • No antenna to exceed 1 metre in length
  • No antenna installed on a chimney to exceed 0.6 metres in length
  • No antenna installed on a chimney to protrude above the chimney
  • No antenna to have a cubic capacity greater than 35 litres
  • Antennas installed on roofs without chimneys cannot protrude above the roof
  • Antennas installed on roofs with chimneys cannot (a) protrude above the chimney OR (b) protrude above the roof by more than 0.6 metres, whichever is the lower of (a) or (b).

Main conditions

  • If the antenna is installed on a building, it should be sited to minimise its effect on the building’s external appearance
  • If the antenna is no longer needed for reception or transmission purposes, it should be removed as soon as possible. 

Additional restrictions apply in National Parks, the Broads, AONBs, World Heritage Sites and Conservation Areas.

What about fences, walls and gates?

There is a permitted development right to construct new or replacement fences, walls, gates and other means of enclosure. This permitted development right applies to a wide range of sites and properties, including most houses and commercial premises. 

Unlike householder permitted development rights, the right to construct fences, walls and gates also applies to:

  1. Houses created following the conversion of a building under a permitted development right. For example, a house converted from an agricultural building under “Class Q” of the The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 [as amended]
  1. Flats.

This permitted development right does not apply to listed buildings or land within their curtilage.

If you would like to construct a new or replacement fence, wall or gate on or around your domestic property without making an application for planning permission, the following limitations will apply.

New fences, walls or gates

  • If it is located next to a road used by vehicles (or a pavement next to that road), it can be no higher than 1 metre above ground level
  • If it is located anywhere else, it can be no higher than 2 metres above ground level.

Improving, maintaining or altering an existing fence, wall or gate*

*A word of warning: if you demolish and rebuild your enclosure, the above height limits (1 or 2 metres) will apply.

  • Height not to increase.

There are no limitations on hedges which can be grown to any height. However, if you choose to replace a hedge with a fence or wall (etc.), that fence or wall will be subject to the same height restrictions as new fences, walls or gates.

Back to top