Planning application – Bury St Edmunds

We have just submitted a planning application for a contemporary extension to the rear of a detached house just outside Bury St Edmunds. We designed the extension with a reversed mono-pitch roof.  This allowed us to plan a 6mx3m glass wall overlooking the open countryside. This glass wall with doors, is screened from excessive sun (and the risk of overheating) by a projecting roof and side walls. This roof will also allow the doors to be open what ever the weather.

We have specified all external surfaces to be clad with the same black stained larch board. This creates a pleasing monolithic appearance, and reflects timber boarding elsewhere on the existing house.

Despite the extension being quite large and very contemporary in appearance it does not require planning permission as the work falls within Permitted Development Rights.

Permitted Development Rights

If you are thinking about extending your home you may first want to consider what is possible under ‘Permitted Development’.

Permitted development includes many common projects that are allowed without having to apply for planning permission. This covers a lot of work that common sense would say is allowed, such as painting doors, or replacing windows. However, there is quite a lot of other work that is also covered. This includes;

A – enlargement, improvement or alterations to a house such as rear or side extensions as well as general alterations such as new windows and doors;

B. -additions or alterations to roofs – which enlarge the house such as loft conversions involving dormer windows;

C – alterations to roofs such as re-roofing or the installation of roof lights/windows;

D – porches;

E – outbuildings.

Other work also covered by permitted development is paving around the house, installing chimney or flues, fences, and as well as some more obscure rights.

Importantly, there is also a neighbour consultation scheme for larger rear extensions. This scheme may allow rear extensions of 8-metres on detached houses and 6-metres on other house. This scheme does require you to go through a formal process.

Note that the are rules or parameters within which work must comply to be considered as permitted development. These are set out in the legislation and an architect can advise you further on this. The government publish a useful guide titled Permitted Development for Householders, last updated in September 2019. This illustrates some common work, and the rules within work must comply.

A few words of caution. 

Firstly, although permitted development may be sufficient to achieve your desired outcome, it can be restrictive, and perhaps not be the best solution for you and your home. When we work with clients, we will often explain what is allowed under permitted development as one option. However, if we think another option produces a better solution, or permitted development is insufficient for the brief, we will also present alternative proposals for you to consider.

Secondly, permitted development rights for many common projects apply to houses, not flats. Also these rights can be removed or restricted by a local authority, or by central government. This may be significant if your property is located in;

  • a Conservation Area
  • a National Park
  • an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • a World Heritage Site or
  • the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

Thirdly, although if you follow the rules, you will not need planning permission, the rules can be confusing and I would advise you to seek professional guidance. I also recommend that whatever the scale and nature of the proposed works that you apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. This Certificate is evidence that the works you propose are allowable under planning. This certificate will give you reassurance that you can proceed confidently. It will also demonstrate to a future purchaser of your home that the works are legitimate.

Pushing the boundaries.

On this project the client wanted a visually striking extension to the rear of their home, but also one that was within permitted development. Permitted development seeks to allow works that are not controversial, by setting out rules to be worked within. However, it is a peculiarity of the legislation that those same rules allow quite contemporary alterations so long as you know where to push the boundaries of what is allowed.

We were able to do this with this contemporary extension. The maximum height of a single storey extension in this location is 4-metres, and we have located this height on the new rear wall. Thus the projecting roof screening the recessed glass wall extends up to 4-metres in height. The glass wall sheltered by this projection is a full 3-metres in height. This wall allows light to flood the interior of the new family room, and links the room interior to views over farmland and up into the sky.

Note, that as with all legislation, the rules and regulations on which this article is based are subject to change and if you are planning works to your home you should seek up to date professional advice.