Did you know permitted development rules relating to extensions have been relaxed for a three-year period? The rule relaxation started on 30 May 2013 and ends on 30 May 2016. The change means you can carry out certain building works without having to make a planning application.
The permitted development rights allowing development to be retained permanently, as long as that change is completed by 30 May 2016, are:
the size limits for householder single-storey rear extensions are increased from 4m to 8m for detached houses and from 3m to 6m for all other types of houses. The new larger extensions are subject to a neighbour consultation scheme
the size limits for extensions to shops and professional/financial services establishments are increased to 100m2, or half of the original floor space, whichever is smaller. Extensions are allowed right up to the boundary of the property, unless it is a boundary with a residential property where a 2m gap will be retained
the size limits for extensions to offices are increased to 100m2, or half of the original floor space, whichever is smaller
the size limits for new industrial buildings within the curtilage of existing industrial premises are increased to 200m2
offices can be converted to residential without the need for a planning application.
Note that some types of minor changes to a house can already be made without needing to apply for planning permission, although there are some 'designated areas' where permitted development rights are more restricted. These include conservation areas, national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.