Forum: permitted development query

If a development constitutes permitted development and has to be completed by May 2016 under the 2013 amendments to the General Permitted Development Order 1995, what happens if it is not finished then?

... Does it mean that if a scheme has a longer build time, there is no point in proceeding? DG

A. The government’s technical consultation on planning, published in July, suggests that the provisions due to expire in May 2016 could be made permanent. For the moment, however, I will assume that this will not happen. I presume that if works are not completed by May 2016 they will then be in breach of planning control and an enforcement notice could be served requiring their removal. To me, this seems particularly unacceptable in terms of the provisions to extend dwellinghouses by six or eight metres allowed by article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013. Circumstances such as job loss or marital breakdown could easily result in householders not being able to complete extensions already begun. I would like to hope that planning authorities would be sympathetic in such instances and would look favourably on applications to complete extensions as far as would be reasonable. Obviously, it would be wise for developers contemplating works that are subject to the May 2016 deadline, such as article 4 house extensions or office-to-residential conversions, to consider whether it will be possible to complete them in time. John Harrison

Next questions

Class B, part 4, schedule 2 of the General Permitted Development Order 1995 allows motorsports on open land for 14 days in any year. Someone has suggested to us that practising, rather than actual sport, is allowed for 28 days. Is this really correct? PA

The owner of a grade II* listed terrace house in a conservation area intends to formalise the recent separation of the main house and a mews property by building a brick wall subdividing the existing garden. No demolition work is proposed to either property or the existing side walls of the garden, which are specifically referred to in the listing description. These walls vary in height but, in general, one side is significantly higher than the other. The proposed dividing wall would align with the height of the lower existing wall, which is about 1.5 metres high. With reference to the listing description, the local authority suggests that the site’s significance would be damaged by inserting a brick wall and that a fence might be more appropriate. Is it justified in taking this view? SB

Do you have an answer to these questions? If so, please email it to Forum editor John Harrison at by 12 December. We also welcome your queries, which can be emailed to the same address.

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