Basements: Permitted Development?


The government has recently announced proposals for a temporary three year increase in permitted development rights to enable larger extensions to homes. What does this mean in practice for people considering or opposing a basement development?

The General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) permits extension to existing properties within certain levels. It is commonly accepted, although not expressly stated in the GPDO, that this includes developments above as well as below ground. Currently there are specific controls which concern the development of basement structures but these are limited in number. For example, a development should not extend beyond the rear wall of the house by more than four metres in the case of a detached house or three metres in the case of any other house.

The government has proposed the temporary increase in permitted development rights so as to encourage development on a larger scale by homeowners to their properties. Therefore, basement developments of a larger size could fall within permitted development rights and outside the control of the planning permission. As a result neighbours are likely to be faced with more development which could cause significant issues as regards the structural integrity of the property or noise and nuisance from the development.

However, it is interesting to note that even the local councils are questioning the merit of the Government’s proposals. It has been reported that Richmond Council intend to oppose the proposals and are looking at ways in which they can do so. It is thought that other Councils will follow suit. It will be interesting to see whether any of the Councils that are faced with numerous basement developments, such as Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, are among their number.

In the event that you require any further information on any of the topics raised in this article then please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Brown on 0207 079 2402.

We hope you have found this note useful; however it is general in nature and for information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Therefore Bishop and Sewell LLP accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any loss howsoever arising in connection with any use of the contents of this article. If you require specific advice, then please contact us.


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