Permitted development changes & prior approval notifications

What are permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights are a general planning permission granted by Parliament. They allow certain building works, such as adding a house extension and changes of use, to be carried out without the need for planning permission.

Some of these permitted development rights are subject to a prior approval process with the local planning authority, and have certain conditions and limitations applied, such as:

  • Larger single-storey rear extensions to residential properties (subject to a consultation process – see below)
  • Conversions between office and residential uses (subject to some restrictions – see below)

Check the Planning Portal for more information of permitted development rights for common projects. The GOV.UK website provides homeowners with permitted development rights technical guidance

Large household extensions

Householders can build larger single storey rear extensions under Permitted Development, subject to the neighbour consultation scheme

You can apply under this scheme for single-storey rear extensions of between 4m and 8m in depth for a detached house, or between 3m and 6m in depth for any other house, with a maximum height of 4m. This measurement is taken from the original rear wall of your house.

The extended permitted development does not apply to flats, maisonettes or houses that are listed buildings or located within a conservation area.

This is a prior approval system and cannot be done retrospectively. If work has started then this procedure cannot be used and a full planning application will be required.

Change of use from offices to residential

Office buildings (Use class B1a) and associated land can now be changed to residential buildings (Use Class C3) without the need for planning permission.

Development is not permitted where the building is listed, a scheduled monument or is located within a safety hazard area or in a military explosives storage area.

The building must have been used as an office prior to 29 May 2013. If it wasn’t a date must be supplied of when it was last used.

Prior to making any changes of use, developers must apply to us to determine whether the prior approval of the council will be required as to:

  • The transport and highway impacts of the development
  • Any contamination risks
  • Any flooding risks
  • Impacts of noise from commercial premises

If prior approval is required, development will be carried out in accordance with detail approved by the local planning authority.

Other aspects of development which may be associated with a change of use will continue to require planning permission, such as alterations to facades and extensions.


Fees can be made by cheque made payable to Southampton City Council and posted to the address below.

Applications that are invalid and where the additional information requested is not submitted in time will be returned with a 25% administration cost taken from the planning fee refund.

  • Prior approval change of use fee - £96
  • If the change of use involves building operations, the fee is £206

Returning your application

  • Email:
  • Post: Planning and Sustainability
    Southampton City Council
    Civic Centre
    Civic Centre Road
    SO14 7LY