Free Property Valuation

What you can do without planning permission

When you buy a new property you often want to make your mark on it or customise it to make it fit your requirements. As the leading independent estate agents in Beaconsfield and the surrounding areas, we speak to dozens of potential buyers. Potential buyers often comment on things they would like to change when we show them around a property.

So what kind of changes can you make to a property without having to apply for planning permission? Permitted Development Rights were, initially brought in to allow people to extend their homes without having to go through longwinded planning application processes and subsequently ease the workload on local authorities.

Permitted Development Rights

Here are some of the alterations which can be made to your property without having to apply for planning permissions under your Permitted Development Rights (PD).


Under Permitted Development you are allowed to:

  1. Add a single storey extension of up to 8m at the rear of a detached house. Semi-detached and terraced homes’ rear extensions can be up to 6m (single storey). They should be no higher than 4m, or 3m if they fall within 2m of the boundary.
  2. You can also build a two storey extension of up to 3m but it must be no closer than 7m to the property’s rear boundary and should be no higher than the existing roofline.
  3. Materials for all types must be the same or similar material to the existing building.
  4. You cannot use PD rights if you are going to build forwards from the existing building line.
  5. Side extensions must be single storey, be no higher than 4m and be less than half the width of the existing building.
  6. You cannot use PD rights if your extension covers more than 50% of the garden.
  7. You can only use your PD rights for this area once and that includes any previous extensions built after 1st July 1948 (except Northern Ireland).
  8. Larger extensions are subject to consultations with neighbours.

Loft Conversions:

You can now do both an extension and certain types of loft conversions under PD rights.

  1. In a detached house, the conversion can be up to 50m3, or 40m3? for other types of houses.
  2. You can add a flush roof light, such as a Velux window, as long as it is at the rear of the property and does not project more than 150mm.
  3. Rear roof extensions must be set back by at least 20cm from the original eaves.
  4. Materials should match existing building.
  5. You will most likely need to apply for full planning permission if you are making more extensive alterations to the roof.

Garden buildings:

Garden buildings are becoming increasingly popular for use as a garden office or studio; generally these are covered under your PD rights.

The main requirements are:

  1. They must not cover more than 50% of the garden
  2. They should be single storey and no more than 4m high to the top of the roof and 2.5m to the eaves. Other roof types should be no higher than 3m.
  3. Any buildings closer than 2m to a boundary wall must be no higher than 2.5m.
  4. They cannot be forward of the existing building line.
  5. They cannot be used as residential accommodation (extra bedroom/granny flat etc).


Somewhat interestingly, your PD rights can also apply to any porch area you’d like to add to or alter on your property. If you want to build one under PD rights your porch must:

  1. Not exceed three square metres.
  2. Be no higher than three metres above ground level.
  3. No part of it may come within two metres of the house’s boundary with the highway.

For the purposes of this article we have simplified the PD laws. If you are looking to do any alterations to your property make sure that you speak to a construction expert who will be able to guide you through the processes more accurately.

Get in Touch

If you are looking to buy or sell a property in the Beaconsfield area make sure you come and speak to a member of our team about your property options, you can give us a call on 01494 680018 or email us. You can also find properties for sale in Beaconsfield on our website and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn for all the latest updates.

image: Zakhar Mar