Are you considering ‘Building Upwards’?

By April 16, 2019Architecture

For those considering property development, it’s worth noting that not all work requires planning permission. There are certain types of work known as “permitted development rights”. Derived from a general planning permission granted by Parliament (not local authority) these ‘permitted development rights’, apply to many common projects for houses. They do not apply to maisonettes, flats or other specific types of buildings.

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

  • a National Park
  • a Conservation Area
  • 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. Back in October 2018, RIBA(Royal Institute for Architecture) reported on proposals announced by Housing Secretary James Brokenshire . The proposals would ‘permit people to build up on existing buildings rather than to build out to use more precious land’. This isn’t the first time a proposal such as this has been forward (it didn’t succeed back in 2015) but if you’re considering developing a property upwards, it may be worth looking at the article.


Whether you’re simply looking to improve your existing house or carry out major works to one you’re intending to buy, it pays to understand the scope of the available Permitted Development rights. Click here for the latest updated piece of Government legislation. Our advice is to always contact your local planning authority to discuss your proposal before any work begins so that you don’t have to down-tools once the project is underway.