You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission.
These are called “permitted development rights“. When we are preparing plans for home extensions, we always check to ensure that if full planning permission is not required the home owner can avoid applying. Sometimes we will advise them to request a Lawful Development Certificate instead. This is so that when they sell their house, evidence can be given to the buyer’s solicitor to prove that the extended property complies with all the planning laws.
NB Permitted development rights granted to houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings and an owner still needs to apply for Building Control approval.
In some areas of the country, known generally as ‘designated areas’, permitted development rights are more restricted. If you live in a Conservation Area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 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.
Permitted Development Rights withdrawn
You should also note that the local planning authority may have removed some of your permitted development rights by issuing an Article 4 direction. This will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one.
Article 4 directions are made when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas. You will probably know if your property is affected by such a direction, but you can check with the local planning authority if you are not sure.