Upward extensions of buildings will be allowed without full planning permission in controversial new rules revealed by the government. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the new regulations in the Spring Statement alongside other planning moves which will allow shops to convert to offices and hot food takeaways to be converted into housing.

The extensions to the Permitted Development Rights (PDR) regulations were confirmed by James Brokenshire, Housing Secretary, in a ministerial statement.  The new rules are expected to be introduced in the autumn.

The new regulations are proving controversial. The ability to add storeys to buildings without planning permission could lead to future complications over rights of light warned Daniel Wade, Rights of Light director of Trident Building Consultancy who was writing in Property Week.

The likely result of this change in policy is an increase in the number of both investigations and claims. Although we anticipate that the PDR will consider issues including overlooking and overshadowing, it is unclear how this would be implemented,” he wrote.

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of housing charity Shelter has raised concerns that the new regulations will prevent the construction of new social housing and will lead to poor quality conversions.  She argues that the PDR rules allow developers to avoid the need  to include social housing in their plans.  “There is no need to make it easier to make a quick buck out of people’s desperation to get onto the housing ladder,” she wrote in Inside Housing.

James Burgoyne, Director – Claims & Technical, Brunel Professions says that architects and surveyors will need to consider the new Permitted Development Rights very carefully in their plans.  “Challenges to developments built under the new rules will be possible even after construction is complete, and we have already seen costly claims arising from planning issues under existing planning rules.  Property professionals will need to think carefully about issues such as rights to light if they are to avoid future disputes which could evolve into negligence claims against them.”


Articles about the new proposals have been published by The Planner, Property Week, Inside Housing and Ashfords.

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