What is Permitted Development?

Permitted development rights are a list of alterations that are acceptable to make to a domestic or commercial property without the need to apply for planning permission. In order to carry out alterations under PDRs there are certain conditions and limitations that must be met in order to be PDRs compliant which, In the case of commercial properties, are considerably more complex than those applied to domestic buildings. These conditions vary dependant on the “Use Class” of the property in question. In the case of the hospitality and retail sectors the relevant use classes are C ( for hotels, guest houses etc) and E ( for restaurants, pubs , bars, takeaways, retail units etc). Class E replaces the now revoked A1/2/3, B1, D1(a-b) and ‘indoor sport’ from D2(e) classes.

If your project proposal can meet these conditions, there is a huge benefit in utilising PDRs as it allows projects to commence construction works on site in a much quicker time frame, negating the two to three month period you would traditionally need to wait whilst navigating the bureaucratic planning system in order to receive a consent, as well as avoiding the need to pay fees to planning consultants, specialists and the local authority. Some councils do require submission of a “prior approval” application on PDRs developments which allows the council to consider the validity of developments and their impact on an area without the need to go through the full planning application process.

Although PDRs are a nationwide policy it is important to check with your local authority as some council’s operate an “Article 4” direction which means that planning permission is indeed required even though the works fall within the remit of PDR.

Article 4 directions are generally in place in areas of significant historical or cultural interest (e.g. conservation areas or green belt) with the intent of offering protection where developments could harm the unique charm or history of an area.

It is advisable for a client to instruct their designers or planning consultants to check local guidelines in respect of PDRs, Article 4 and “prior approval” applications prior to commencing the feasibility scheme drawings to avoid the need to re-draw proposals after the fact.

Over recent years the government has relaxed the rules around PDRs, in part to ease the strain on the planning services, and this relaxation opens up a wealth of possibilities for savvy designers and their clients.

Examples of commercial PDRs include –

  • Installation of 1no. movable structure within the curtilage of the site – e.g. a mobile bar, shelter or stage area.
  • The erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure, as long as the wall does not exceed 1m, is not part of a listed building and does not create an obstruction to the view of persons using the adjacent highway as to be likely to cause danger.
  • The painting of the exterior of any building or work.
  • The installation, within an area lawfully used for off-street parking, of an electrical outlet mounted on a wall or stand for recharging electric vehicles.
  • The installation, alteration or replacement on a building of a closed circuit television camera to be used for security purposes.
  • Right of change of use within certain use classes, for example drinking establishments to dining establishments, retail to drinking establishment ( Or vice versa), commercial/business/service establishments to mixed use, dwelling house or 2 flats.

It should be noted that undertaking building works under permitted development rights does not remove or negate the need to meet other statutory requirements such as Building control or party wall consent.

If you’d like to know more about permitted development rights and how MGI can assist in your project please get in touch.