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1 MAY 2018

The exercise of permitted development rights in England since 2010

In recent years, there has been a significant expansion in permitted development (PD) rights. The report presents an analysis of the exercise of PD rights in England since 2010 and an initial estimate of the direct financial costs and benefits of permitted development to the public sector.

The research

The main argument in favour of the extension of PD rights is that it removes unnecessary administrative impediments to development imposed by the planning system. Conversely, concerns have been raised about the specific impacts of different categories of PD such as their cumulative and systematic effects. The research, conducted by a team primarily from the University of Sheffield, sought to:

  • Define the main extensions to PD rights that have been introduced since 2000
  • Identify the direct financial costs and benefits to local authorities of development taking place through the exercise of PD rights, to the extent that they differ from those arising were the same development to have occurred with the benefit of formal planning permission
  • Provide an analysis of PD activity in England between 2010 and 2017
  • Estimate the scale of the financial costs and benefits accruing to local authorities through the exercise of extended PD rights.

Key findings

By undertaking a combined research approach involving mapping changes to the residential housing supply across England and conducting a cost-benefit analysis of PD for local authorities, the research highlights a number of interesting findings, including:

  • The bulk of additional dwellings that result from the exercise of PD rights take the form of small scale conversions from business uses.
  • Large conversion scheme account for the largest element of the direct financial costs of PD to public authorities.
  • The extension of PD rights facilitates long term structural change in England’s built environment.

RICS Research Trust is now the Property Research Trust

This research was funded by the RICS Research Trust. As of the end of January 2021, RICS Research Trust became fully independent of RICS, and has been rebranded as the Property Research Trust. Find out more here . The Trust supports and promotes high-quality independent contributions to knowledge in the disciplines of land, real estate and construction.