Last edited 05 Dec 2016

Prior approval for permitted development

Generally it is up to a local planning authority to decide whether to allow a particular development or not. However, in England and Wales, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 enables central government to permit certain types of developments known as ‘permitted developments’. These are generally minor changes to existing properties.

In certain cases, even though a development is permitted, prior approval of some issues is required from the local authority. This includes:

  • Specific issues to do with agricultural land, such as the purpose, siting and design of agricultural buildings as well as the construction of a private way, the siting of excavation or deposit or the siting and appearance of tanks.
  • Similar issues for land used for the purposes of forestry.
  • Erection of plant, machinery, buildings, or structures on land used as a mine.
  • The demolition of a building.
  • Siting and appearance of telecommunications masts.

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 came into force on 30 May 2013. It amends the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. Some of these amendments permit development only with prior approval of certain aspects or beyond certain sizes:

  • Rear extensions up to 8m in depth for detached properties and 6m for attached properties until 30 May 2016. If a neighbor objects, prior approval is required to assess the impact of the proposed development on the amenity of any adjoining premises.
  • Change of use class from office to residential.
  • Change of use class to a state-funded school, from classes B1 (business), C1 (hotels), C2 (residential institutions), C2A (secure residential institutions) and D2 (assembly and leisure).
  • Change of use class from an agricultural building to a flexible use falling within either Class A1 (shops), Class A2 (financial and professional services), Class A3 (restaurants and cafes), Class B1 (business), Class B8 (storage or distribution), Class C1 (hotels) or Class D2 (assembly and leisure).

The procedures for seeking prior approval are set out in the legislation.

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