House Extensions 2023: Permitted Development or Householder Planning Applications: What's the Difference?

  • February 2023
  • Kieron Peaty

Obtaining the necessary permissions and approvals for your project can be a daunting task, especially if you're unfamiliar with the process. The numerous different types of applications can make it seem like a minefield. With that said, if you're a homeowner then the two common routes for gaining permission in the UK are Permitted Development (PD) and Householder Planning Applications. While both serve the purpose of allowing property alterations and extensions, they have distinct differences that can significantly impact your project's outcome. In this blog post, we'll explore the key differences between these two application types and offer our insight into how to make the best decision for your project.

Permitted Development or Planning v2
The proposed planning drawing for our project From new house to family home

Permitted Development (PD)

In a nutshell, Permitted Development is a streamlined planning process that allows developments of a certain kind to happen without the need for a full planning application. Initially, PD rights were introduced in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 to facilitate minor property improvements, while reducing the administrative burden on homeowners. It's important to note that not all projects qualify for PD, and the eligibility criteria can vary depending on numerous factors inluding your property's location and classification.

Key features of Permitted Development:

  1. Eligibility Criteria: PD rights are property-specific, meaning they depend on various factors such as your property's type (detached, semi-detached, etc.), your location, and any previous alterations carried out by either you or a previous owner. Whether your home's a listed building or sits within a Conservation Area, a National park or an Area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) will also dictact the nature of your PD rights.

  2. Limited Scope: Permitted Development is generally designed for minor works, such as small extensions, loft conversions, and certain changes to your home's appearance. Large-scale developments typically require full planning permission.

  3. Development Rights: While PD allows for specific types of development without planning permission, you may still need to adhere to certain limitations and conditions, such as the size, height, and materials used in your project.

  4. Consulting with the Local Authority: You will still be required to submit a Certificate of Lawfulness to your local planning authority to confirm that your project falls within the scope of Permitted Development. This process still typically takes 8 weeks, as a full planning application, but it provides peace of mind and legal protection.

Householder Planning Application

A Householder Planning Application is a more traditional planning route, often used for more significant property alterations, extensions, or renovations. This process involves submitting a formal application to your local planning authority for approval. Unlike Permitted Development, Householder Planning Applications are subject to a more rigorous assessment.

Key features of Householder Planning Applications:

  1. Customization: Householder Planning Applications offer more flexibility for customization and creativity in your project. You have the opportunity to present your vision and make a case for why your proposed changes should be approved.

  2. Community Consideration: Your neighbours and the local community will have the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns about your project during the application process. Their input can influence the decision made by the planning authority.

  3. Complexity: Householder Planning Applications can be more complex and time-consuming than Permitted Development, as they require detailed plans, design statements, and consultations with neighbours and certain authorities, such as Highways for instance.

  4. Greater Oversight: Your local planning authority assesses these applications thoroughly, considering factors such as the impact on the neighbourhood, the appearance of the property, and compliance with national and local planning policies.

Choosing the Right Path for Your Project

It might seem obvious to say, but the decision of whether you submit a Permitted Development application or a Householder Planning Application will depend upon the nature and scale of your project. Permitted Development applications are incredibly useful if your alterations are straight forward and fall within the scope of Permitted Development Rights. The PD route typically avoids the complexities and delays associated with a full planning application, so it can be a relatively low-risk route.

However, if your project is more substantial and includes elements of design that might be deemed contentious, or they would likely face potential objections from neighbours, then a Householder Planning Application will almost certainly be the better choice.


Understanding the differences between Permitted Development and Householder Planning Applications is essential for a successful project. Each route has its advantages and limitations, and the choice should align with your specific requirements. Consulting with a professional architect, such as Studio 40, or a planning consultant can also be invaluable in guiding you through the process and ensuring a smooth, pain-free path to obtaining the necessary permissions for your home alterations.

If you have any doubts or questions, then please feel free to drop us a call or message and we'd be happy to arrange a free consultation.


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