Permitted development – front extension?

Permitted development – front extension?

10:13 AM, 6th February 2015, About 9 years ago 6

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Under permitted development rules there are clear defined guidelines for side and rear extensions. Front extensions are normally NOT allowed, except where the dwelling does not front a highway or is a substantial distance from the highway.

Our local planning dept has refused our application quoting in their opinion we are not a substantial distance from the highway. Substantial is ambiguous and every planning officer in every planning dept can interpret substantial to be any distance.

Before 2008 planning had a defined measurement of 20 metres from the highway. After that the English planning portal  states ‘The distance between a house and the highway in cases where that distance is substantial, it is unlikely that a building can said to front the highway’ ( However, the Scottish planning portal is very clearly defined as 30Mts as substantial

We found an appeal that was successful because the dwelling could not be seen from the highway. Our annexe is behind a house, is 40 metres from the highway and can not be seen from the highway.

The majority of houses in our area are approx. 10 metres from the highway. Some new build are so close to the highway that there is not enough space to park a car. Therefore isn’t 40 metres substantial?

Although irrelevant, we would like to build just 4.5 metres to the front, meaning we will still be over 35 metres from the highway.

Does anyone have any advice?


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Joe Bloggs

10:50 AM, 6th February 2015, About 9 years ago

sounds like you have grounds for an appeal.

Terry Donohue

11:09 AM, 6th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Permitted development is allowed until May 2016 only so when guidelines are not clear, an unhelpful planning officer can easily waste away this precious time, not quite what the government intended. Substantial should have been 30Mts like Scotland, no ambiguity. I can appeal but I shouldn't have to.

Joe Bloggs

11:16 AM, 6th February 2015, About 9 years ago

i think you mean the current relaxation of PD rules is until may 16. there are no plans to abolish PD that im aware of.


11:33 AM, 6th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Ask a planning consultant for his or her advice. If the distance from the road is the only reason for refusal, you should have a decent chance at appeal, especially if you can point to other local properties that have been extended to the front. Also although the 2008 figure of 20m no longer applies, you can still point to it and the Scottish figure for evidence of what is and has been meant by "substantial". You should also take into account the local character and streetscene: if all the other houses are 35-40 metres from the street, a front extension has a marked impact on character and might be grounds for refusal, but if everyone else is 10m or less and just your house is set back, as well as not visible from the highway, then you have strong grounds for appeal.

It's possible though that there is some local policy referenced in the refusal letter, which over-rides or tightens up national guidance.

Unfortunately if the refusal has already been issued, your only option is to appeal or to re-submit, perhaps after asking your planning department what exactly counts as "substantial" in this case.

Terry Donohue

19:30 PM, 6th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Tony Atkins" at "06/02/2015 - 11:33":

Thanks for your informed comments. In our case, most houses are generally about 15Mts from the highway. Our dwelling is i the rear garden of a large detached house. So not only are we 40Mts from the highway, we can't be seen from the highway and therefore do not spoil the line of the houses. We think planning are being difficult and so we have had to hire a planning consultant to champion our project. Our planning consultant is very sure we will eventually win but we have added costs. I believe that only when we back planning into a corner and threaten them with a claim for costs that they will then back down. Permitted development is supposed to remove red tape and planning costs.

John walker

12:37 PM, 7th February 2015, About 9 years ago

Hi Terry,
Tell the unhelpful PO you wish to appeal his decision, and would he/she please forward the necessary forms. Has your application been refused by the PO using his/her delegated powers, or by the LA? Appeals may cause rather a lot of work for planners and they tend to look foolish in the eyes of their employers if refusals are found to be frivolous, so the threat of an appeal may cause a change of mind. Be well prepared to go through with an appeal though, which costs little but time if you represent yourself.
John Walker

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