Upwards Extensions - New Permitted Development Right


The government has established a new permitted development right ("PD Right") for upward extensions of current blocks of apartments. On August 1, 2020 the PD right will go into effect.

The right grants building of two extra storeys contingent on prior approval and specific exceptions. Storeys have to be residential and instantly above the present top floor. Specific inhibitions apply.

For instance, the height of the roof of the lengthened building from end to end ought not to be more than seven metres higher than the highest piece of the current roof. Moreover, the building ought not to be higher than 30 metres in height after the extension.

Limitations and exclusions

There are several criteria which need to be fulfilled for a building to benefit from the latest PD Right such as;

The stature of the extension would be more than seven metres taller than the current roof or the floor to ceiling stature of new floors would be taller than three meters.

The building is shorter than three storeys;

the building was built before 1 July 1947 or after 5 March 2018;

the extended structure would be taller than 30 metres

the building is placed in an area of particular scientific interest; or

Building was turned into housing based on the specific classes of PD rights in Part 3 of Schedule 2 of the GPDO permitting change of use to dwellings, including turning offices into dwelling houses.

The latest PD Right solely applies to buildings which were purpose-made as residential apartments. The right is not obtainable for buildings which are in mixed use. If a little part of the building is used as an office place or if there are mercantile establishments on the ground level, the PD Right won't be obtainable.

Thus, The PD Right is more probably used for residential buildings only have few levels which are built to be used as flats. These types of buildings are more common in suburbs rather than centers of big cities or seaboard towns near the country.

The new PD Right would not be available in case the planning permission for residential use of current structure was acquired via another permitted development right.

In other words, office buildings or mercantile establishments which have been turned into apartments based on the GPDO would not be extended upwards based on the latest PD right following the June codes.

There are also height limitations for the latest PD Right:

● The extra storeys cannot be taller than 3 metres, or the altitude of any current storey, whichever is the smaller;

● The height of the roof of the structure from end to end (as extended) ough not to be taller than 7 metres above the top point of the existing roof; and

● The extended structure cannot be taller than 30 metres in height.

Moreover, listed buildings, and buildings inside of 3km of an aerodrome could not be extended based on the PD right.

Terms and Prior Approval Necessities

Like current PD Rights, the developer ought to apply for the Council’s prior approval of specific characteristics of the proposed improvement..

The June Regulations state that the Council’s prior approval is a must in terms of several further issues. These contain the supply of sufficient sunlight in all livable rooms of the planned new flats. This is really burdensome when compared with the existing prior approval process, and it would also apply to different pre-existing PD Rights.[4] The Government seems to have been introduced it to try and cover issues that some homes created under existing PD Rights in the past have been discovered to be unprofessionally planned, and they could not catch the sun.

Moreover, floorplans defining the proportion of each room in the apartments in the planned new storeys should be supplied with the prior approval application. According to The June Regulations, this is also necessary for some pre-existing PD Rights. Even though the prior approval process does not need Councils to issue an opinion on if the given amount of space is enough.


An application should be made to the local planning authority for prior approval in terms of the matters below;

Transport and main roads effects

Air transportation and defence asset effects

Flooding risks

Pollution risk

Outer appearance

Effect on the comfort of the existing structure and surrounding properties.

The supply of enough sunlight in all livable rooms of the new apartments (The government concerns this issue recently, like they have exercised it to other permitted development rights that permits the formation of dwellings)

If the siting of the building will affect the protected view (London-centric)

If all of these issues are approved and former approval is given , there will be three years to finish the development.

If former approval is rejected, an appeal could be made to the Planning Inspectorate.

Permitted Development Rights for Extra Storeys to Dwellinghouses The Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2020 will discuss persistent permitted development rights to grant existing properties to be extended by the method of adding up 2 storeys at most. The rights are applicable to existing properties that are detached, semi-detached or in a terrace.

They are liable to a maximum height restriction of 18m, and where the property is in a terrace it could not be taller than 3.5m than the second tallest house in the terrace. The rights are only applicable to properties constructed between 1 July 1948 and 28 October 2018 and are not applicable in Conservation Areas.

There is a condition to get prior approval regarding the effect on the comfort of nearby areas, the outer appearance, and the effects a higher building could have on air transport and defence assets.

Permitted Development Rights for Destruction and Reconstruct for Residential Use The Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Order 2020 will introduce a new Class ZA to the General Permitted Development Order giving persistent permitted development rights to provide the destruction of empty and unnecessary stand-alone buildings that fell within use class B1 and C3 on 12 March 2020, and their substitution with housing development.

The rights are solely applicable to purpose-made residential blocks of flats, and therefore are not applicable to terraced buildings, detached dwellings or mixed-use buildings. The rights would also be only applicable to structures built prior to 1 January 1990 that have been completely empty for at least 6 months prior to the application for prior approval. The improvement, consisting of both destruction and substitution build, ought to be finished within three years of the date of the allowance of prior approval. There are diverse restrictions formed on the range of the improvement permitted, comprising that it ought to be within the footprint of the original structure with a footprint of up to 1,000 sq m and with a maximum tallness of 18m.

There is a necessity to get prior approval with regard to the transport and highway effects of the improvement, pollution and flooding risks, the effect of noise from other areas on the future occupants, design and outer appearance of the new structure, the sufficiency of sunlight in all livable rooms of each new dwelling, the effect of the launching of residential use into a neighborhood, and the effect of the improvement on the convenience of the new structure and of neighbouring areas, effect of noise from mercantile areas, the effect on encompassing businesses, effect on heritage and archaeology, the way of destruction, plans for landscape gardening and the effect on air transportation and defence.

The rights would not be applicable in Conservation Areas or to listed buildings or scheduled monuments.

Prospective reform

We expect a forthcoming declaration on the government’s recommendations for an important reform to the planning system in general. The government also clearly stated that they will extend PD rights further to broaden the scope of commercial buildings allowed to alter to residential use, broaden the upwards extension rights and establish a PD right to destruct commercial structures for residential improvement. Future will show how this broad expansion of PD rights would be compatible with the new planning system proposed by the Government.

In short, even though homeowners with proper portfolios may be evaluating if the new upwards extensions PD right could be helpful for maximising their possessions, looking at the requirements and restrictions on the right it could not be extensively used in practice. Nor will it inevitably enhance the accessibility of affordable housing, as builders do not have to provide affordable buildings.

Moreover, the prior approval process may be an additional drain on expanded local authority planning departments, and could not permit them to consider all the effects of the proposed development on the local territory. Because of these reasons, we wonder if the measure would effectively reach the government’s goal of easing the pressure on housing provision.

Will I Need to Pay a levy for Building Upwards?

These new rules for extending structures upwards do permit councils to claim a payment for the application. We believe that it is very possible that they will all decide to charge applicants.