In the words of the government, permitted development rights “allow householders to improve and extend their homes without the need to apply for planning permission where that would be out of proportion with the impact of works carried out”.
For example, an extension is classed as a permitted development so long as it meets certain criteria, such as covering no more than half the area of land around the 'original house', and being no higher than the highest part of the existing roof.
Similarly, you can build a garage or outhouse on your property, so long as it is deemed to be of a reasonable size.
Other examples of permitted development projects include fitting rooflights, loft conversions and even sticking in a swimming pool, in each case provided specific criteria is met.
Inevitably, there are exceptions. For example, while permitted development rights apply to houses, they do not apply to flats or maisonettes.
In addition, if you live in a 'designated area' then you may need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which would not require an application in other areas.
These designated areas include:
- Conservation areas
- National parks
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- World Heritage Sites
What's more, separate permitted development rights apply to commercial properties than residential dwellings, while there are different requirements in place for any development work you might like to carry out on a listed building.
It's worth bearing in mind that while these projects may not require planning permission, you'll need to comply with certain building regulations.