Planning circular 1/2024: householder permitted development rights

Guidance on householder permitted development rights (PDR). It explains what works people can carry out to alter or improve their home without an application for planning permission.

2. General Advice Before Starting Development

2.1 Home improvement projects, such as an extension, should be carefully considered. Time spent planning can save money. It can also ensure the work is completed on time and as required. It is the property owner's responsibility to ensure that the relevant statutory requirements are met. If the development fails to comply with the relevant legislation, the owner is liable for any remedial action (which could go as far as demolition and restoration).

Things to Check

Restrictions on PDR in certain locations

2.2 As noted in paragraph 1.4, most PDR are subject to conditions and limitations. In some cases PDR are disapplied (or limited) in specific locations such as conservation areas, World Heritage Sites, National Scenic Areas and National Parks. If you live in such an area, you therefore might need to apply for planning permission for works that would otherwise be covered by PDR. This document indicates where certain PDR classes are restricted in specific locations but if you are in any doubt you should check with the planning authority.

Prior approval

2.3 A small number of PDR are subject to a process known as “prior notification and prior approval.” Under this process, a person wishing to carry out development must notify the planning authority, provide details of the proposal and pay the relevant fee. The planning authority then has an opportunity to indicate whether specific aspects of the development are acceptable. The planning authority’s determination is limited to the particular matters specified in the relevant PDR class – for example, siting, design or appearance. In this sense, the process is lighter touch than applications for planning permission because a narrower range of considerations can be taken into account. This is relevant if you are intending to:

  • Install a free-standing wind turbine in the curtilage of a dwellinghouse (see section 6).
  • Replace or alter the windows of your home and it is located in a conservation area (see section 7).

Other consents

2.4 Even if your proposed works are covered by PDR, consents or approvals under other legislation may be required. For example:

  • Building standards: proposed works may require a building warrant before work can start. Under the building standards system a building warrant gives permission to build; it confirms that the design has been shown to meet the building regulations. You should consult your local authority if in doubt. Please see separate guidance on building standards.
  • Listed buildings: listed building consent may be required if you live in a listed building.
  • Scheduled monuments: consent is required for certain works to or affecting a scheduled monument. Work proposed in or near a scheduled archaeological site should be planned to avoid direct impact on the monument and impacts on its setting minimised, where sites are not scheduled certain precautions may be required.

2.5 If you are in doubt about other consents that may be required for your proposed development project, it is worth checking with your planning authority. Historic Environment Scotland’s website provides information and guidance that may be helpful if you are planning to alter a historic building or scheduled monument.

Restrictions on the land

2.6 There may restrictions on the land, which limit the type of works that can be lawfully carried out there. For example, an “Article 4 Direction” (which removes PDR in specific locations), legal title or rights of way. You may wish to consult a professional such as a planning consultant or solicitor. Your planning authority will be able to tell you if an Article 4 Direction covers your property.

2.7 It is also worth checking the planning history of the land: planning permission granted in the past may have a condition or other restriction prohibiting the kind of work proposed.

Other organisations

2.8 Depending on the nature and location of the proposed works, it may be helpful to contact:

  • Scottish Water to ascertain whether any proposed development is over or adjacent to existing underground pressurised water mains where access is required.
  • The Coal Authority where properties are situated within former coal mining areas.
  • NatureScot where protected species and habitats are affected.



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