The General Permitted Development Order Part - 1 Class D Q & A DCP Section 4.34

This section deals with the interpretation of the principal provisions of the Statutory Instrument entitled Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 - as amended. It also covers the equivalent legislation in Scotland and Wales, both under review at the time of writing. However, information and commentary on the GPDO will concentrate on the English Order, to which radical and controversial changes to Part 1 were made in 2008.

Q & A Part 1 Class D 4.34/105

My authority has received an application for a porch at the rear of a dwellinghouse. Under Part 1 Class D of the GPDO this would require permission as it well exceeds the permitted 3 sqm and is higher than 3 m.  However, under Class A this "extension" would fall within the permitted development rights for the dwelling.  It appears that the only reason for accepting the application is because of the specified use as a porch. Was this correct?

If this alleged porch complies with the exclusions given to "enlargements" by Class A,  the fact that it fails the Class D tests is of no consequence. It is permitted development on the basis that each Class is a self-contained entity. Class D essentially exists so as not to deny a householder the right to a modest porch where it would not otherwise be permitted development, normally by reason of lying between the dwelling and the highway.

I have a situation where a front porch is being proposed outside of an external door to a dwellinghouse and which complies with the dimensions allowed by Class D of Part 1 of the (GPDO). However, the external door it is being built onto is itself part of an extension. Class D does not specify that the external door should be part of the original dwellinghouse, and therefore gives the impression that porch after porch could be built as permitted development until one was 2 m away from the boundary. Is this possible?

This is an engaging hypothesis and if the letter of the GPDO is followed one could envisage a situation whereby the incremental building of porches could indeed result in a sizeable extension which would not need express planning permission. Has anybody had experience of this possible loophole being probed?

Class D of part 1 schedule 2 to the General Permitted Development Order 1995 gives rights for the erection of porches. Is a canopy a porch? The canopy I have in mind is a one piece article of plastic or fibreglass, which is bolted to the wall behind it and not otherwise supported. Its top is less than 3m above ground and the "volume" it covers is less than 3 sqm. It is above an external door and projects beyond the front of a house.

If the canopy you describe had some form of enclosure to its sides or front it would conclusively be a porch allowed by class D. However, if not defined as a porch it would not be allowed by class A if within 20m of a highway.  This anomaly cannot have been intended and a common sense view is that a canopy is part of a porch and therefore covered by class D.  Also worthy of consideration is the point that this canopy may not be development at all if it is deemed to have no material effect on external appearance.

A development consistent with the criteria for permitted development under Part 1 Class D of the GPDO has been erected in front of an integral garage door. The design of the development is such that the existing door can be retained and a new door installed forward of the retained door. Are there any grounds for concluding that the structure is not a porch for the purposes of the Order, but an extension to the garage?

I imagine that the crunch in this case is that if the structure is not a "porch" it would not be permitted development by reason of being forward of the dwelling and fronting a highway. I find it difficult to imagine that this structure could be termed a porch in the ordinary meaning of the word as being an enclosure to protect the entrance to a building. It is also difficult to take on board that the authors of the Order conceived a garage door as being "an external door of a dwellinghouse".

I obtained permission for a two-storey extension and raised patio on sloping ground at the rear of a semi-detached dwelling. This has now been built with a 1.6m high void underneath. My partner submitted a further application to build a conservatory on top of the patio but this was refused. Although it would be much smaller, could I instead use my rights under Class D, Part 1, Schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 1995 to build a porch outside the rear doors of the extension at patio level? When making this assessment, should the 3m height limit be measured from the patio level or the original ground level underneath?

Since porches are not subject to volumetric limits, they may be added to a dwelling after permitted development allowances have been used up. Condition D.1(b) states that a porch is not permitted development if any part of it is more than 3m above ground level. A definition of "ground level" is given in Article 1(3). Paragraph 36 of Circular 9/95 explains that for the purposes of the Order measurements of height are taken from the highest part of the adjoining "natural" ground level. This follows a ministerial decision in 1978 that fencing built on a raised patio exceeded the 2m permitted development height limit when measured from the land on which the patio had been built. So the height of the porch should be measured from the underlying ground level.


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