IMPORTANT: DCLG has updated its “Permitted Development for Householders – Technical Guidance” document (October 2013) …

[NOTE: For other updates to the "Technical Guidance" document, please view the following posts:
- This post for the January 2013 updates.
- This post and this post for the October 2013 updates.
- This post for the April 2014 updates.
- This post for the April 2016 updates.
- This post for the April 2017 updates.]

Introduction:

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has updated its "Permitted Development for Householders - Technical Guidance" document. As such, the current and previous versions of the "Technical Guidance" document are now as follows:

  • October 2013: Permitted Development for Householders - Technical Guidance (pdf).
  • January 2013: Permitted Development for Householders - Technical Guidance (pdf).
  • August 2010: Permitted Development for Householders - Technical Guidance (pdf).

The main differences between the current version (October 2013) and the previous version (January 2013) are as follows:

Basements (page 5):

On page 5 of the "Technical Guidance" document, in the section titled "The structure of the rules on permitted development", the phrase "and the creation of basements" has been added as an example of the types of works that are covered by Part 1 Class A. This appears to be the first time since the legislation came into force 5 years ago (on 01/10/2008) that DCLG has published a clear statement that the excavation of a basement does fall within the scope of Part 1 of the GPDO.

As a result of the above amendment, the following conclusion has been added to the "Basements" topic of the Part 1 of the GPDO - GENERAL Appeal Decisions document on this website:

  • The excavation of a basement does fall within the scope of Class A.
    [Source: Permitted development for householders - Technical guidance].
    [This advice is since October 2013].

Larger rear extensions (page 15):

Since the previous version of the "Technical Guidance" document was published in January 2013, the system of larger rear extensions (i.e. a 3m-6m rear extension on an attached house or a 4m-8m rear extension on a detached house) has been introduced by SI 2013 No. 1101 (link) on 30/05/2013.

As such, on page 15 of the "Technical Guidance" document, a new section relating to limitation A.1(ea) has been inserted. Unfortunately, this new section provides no new information, and actually provides even less information than was provided by the separate "draft" guidance document that was published in May 2013 (pdf) (and subsequently updated in June 2013 (pdf)). This new section simply repeats the provisions of the legislation, confirms that such an extension would still be subject to the other limitations and conditions of Part 1 Class A (e.g. the 4m height restriction, the 50% curtilage restriction, etc), and advises readers who want further information that they should refer to the Planning Portal.

As such, as a result of the above amendment, no conclusions have been added to the the Part 1 of the GPDO - GENERAL Appeal Decisions document on this website.

20cm set-back from the eaves (page 34):

Since the previous version of the "Technical Guidance" document was published in January 2013, the High Court has found that the advice in this document relating to condition B.2(b) was incorrect (quote: "[it] does not accord with the statutory provisions"), and has found that the 20cm set-back should be measured from the closest point of the eaves (i.e. rather than from the outer edge of the eaves). Note: For more information about this High Court judgment, please view this previous post.

As such, on page 34 of the "Technical Guidance" document, in the section relating to condition B.2(b), the following additional information has been inserted:

Firstly, at the start of the previous advice, the phrase "The Department’s policy intention is that ..." has been inserted.

Secondly, at the end of the previous advice, the following footnote has been inserted:

"A High Court decision (Waltham Forest LBC v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (QBD), 18 June 2013) has found that the 20cm set back should be measured from the closest point of the projecting eaves (i.e. the intersection with the wall), rather than from the outer edge of the projecting eaves. The Department is considering the impact of this decision, and in the meantime householders should discuss any proposals for a roof extension with their local planning authority."

Unfortunately, because the full text and the diagram of the previous advice has been retained, the insertion of the above additional information results in advice that is now highly confusing. Considering that DCLG did not appeal this High Court judgment, it's difficult to understand why they have now updated the advice in the "Technical Guidance" document so that it gives people the impression that this issue might still be debatable. In my opinion, DCLG should have accepted that their previous advice was wrong (as found by the High Court), and should have updated their advice (including the diagram) so that it accords with this High Court judgment.

Furthermore, considering that the "Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government" was the defendant for this High Court case (and was represented by a QC during this case), then DCLG should have known about this judgment since it was (verbally) handed down on 18/06/2013. As such, it's difficult to understand why DCLG has now stated (more than 4 months later) that they are still "considering the impact of this decision".

As a result of the above amendment, the following conclusion has been added to the "B.2(b)" topic of the Part 1 of the GPDO - GENERAL Appeal Decisions document on this website:

  • For the purposes of B.2(b), it is DCLG’s "policy intention" that the 20cm set back should be measured from the outer edge of the eaves, but it is noted that the High Court judgment dated 18/06/2013 found that the 20cm set back should be measured from the closest point of the eaves. As such, householders should discuss this issue with their LPA.
    [Source: Permitted development for householders - Technical guidance].
    [This advice is since October 2013].

Other (insignificant) amendments:

  • On page 3, the "Introduction" section has been rewritten.
  • Throughout the "Technical Guidance" document, references to the 6m/8m limit for larger rear extensions have been added onto the end of references to the 3m/4m limit for typical rear extensions. For example, on page 21, the advice that a rear and side extension should "extend no more than three metres beyond the rear wall (or no more than four metres in the case of a detached house)" has now become the advice that such an extension should "extend no more than three metres beyond the rear wall, or no more than four metres in the case of a detached house (or until 30 May 2016 no more than six metres beyond the rear wall, or eight metres for a detached house, except on article 1(5) land or sites of special scientific interest where the three and four metre limits remains in place)".
  • Throughout the "Technical Guidance" document, there have been various formatting changes, including new font sizes, new paragraph spacing, etc. Unfortunately, these formatting changes have altered the layout of many of the pages, which makes it harder to quickly spot the significant changes (i.e. when comparing the current version with the previous version).

Additional notes:

  • All links on the Planning Jungle website to the "Technical Guidance" document have been updated to ensure that they link to the current version of the document (i.e. the "October 2013" version).

Comments by the Planning Jungle website:

  • In my opinion, this updated version of the "Technical Guidance" document is another missed opportunity by DCLG. Since the "Technical Guidance" document was first published in August 2010, appeal decisions have shown that there are still a number of significant ambiguities within the legislation that have not been resolved by the "Technical Guidance" document and that even government Inspectors are unable to interpret consistently. For example, 5 years after the legislation came into force (on 01/10/2008), it's still not possible to give a definite answer to the simple question "is it permitted development (on a typical house) to replace timber windows with UPVC windows?".
  • DCLG could have identified most of these ambiguities by talking to Inspectors (or by referring to the documents on this website), and then could have taken the opportunity to resolve them via this updated version of the "Technical Guidance" document. Instead, most of these ambiguities still remain. Furthermore, the new section in the "Technical Guidance" document about larger rear extensions doesn't address any of the issues identified by the "Part 1 of the GPDO – Larger Rear Extensions – Guide" document on this website, or any of the other significant issues that have been raised by developers and LPAs.