You can perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called "permitted development rights".

They derive from a general planning permission granted not by the local authority but by Parliament. Bear in mind that the permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Similarly, commercial properties have different permitted development rights to dwellings.

In some areas of the country, known generally as 'designated areas', permitted development rights are more restricted. For example, if you live in:


  • a Conservation Area

  • a National Park

  • an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

  • a World Heritage Site or

  • the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads,

you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas. There are also different requirements if the property is a listed building.



Local planning authorities may have removed some of your permitted development rights by issuing an 'Article 4' direction. This catchy title means you will have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one.

Article 4 directions are made to protect the character of an area of acknowledged importance . They are most common in conservation areas. You should check with the local planning authority if you are not sure, and Article 4 maps can usually be found on Local Authority websites.



While it should be possible in most cases to decide whether or not a proposed project qualifies as permitted development there will inevitably be instances where the decision is less clear cut.

If there is any ambiguity or question over whether your proposal qualifies as permitted development, you may choose to apply for a lawful development certificate (LDC) for peace of mind. This is not the same as planning permission but is proof that your household building work is lawful.

This option is well worth considering even if you are sure your project is permitted development. If you should later want to sell your property, an LDC may be helpful to answer queries raised by potential buyers or their legal representatives.

At SKA, we have considerable experience in preparing LDC applications,  working alongside planning consultants on larger projects to achieve the best results.



The best place to look for additional information is here, at the Planning Portal.  It contains useful visual guides and key information about the different kinds of permitted development and their limitations.

Look here for a broad introduction to your rights.

Go here for more on Lawful Development Certificates.

Click here for a Technical Guide for Householders.