Permitted development rights are set to expire. Is it OK to start my extension?

In today’s Sunday Times, we respond to a reader’s question regarding the May 30 2019 deadline to prior approval rights for larger home extensions (extensions with a depth of 6m/8m).

The link to the full article is here and the article is pasted below:

Q I have plans to build a single-storey 3.5-metre extension. I am allowed to do so under permitted development (PD) rights, valid until May 30, 2019. PD stipulates that the work must be completed by this date. We have obtained prior approval, but we haven’t yet got a builder in place, so will not be able to achieve this deadline.

Do you know if the date is likely to be extended again, or what we can do? I understand we will need to put in a fresh application under the full planning process if not completed by the date stipulated. We are currently, therefore, in limbo, as I’m sure many of your readers are. What do you advise?
John Finney, London

A The government introduced a new form of permitted development in 2013, allowing homeowners to extend their homes to the rear by up to six metres at ground-floor level (eight metres for detached houses). Applicants do not need to apply for full planning permission, but must submit a much simpler “prior approval” application. If neighbours do not object to the proposal, it is permitted development and may proceed.

Permitted development rights are set out in the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), which says these “larger home extensions” must be completed (ie approved and built) by May 30, 2019. This cut-off date is now looming. The government says it intends to make the larger home extension scheme permanent, likely through an amendment to the GPDO in April or May. It also intends to introduce a small fee for new applications, which are currently free. It is likely that existing approvals will be safe (the May 2019 deadline may just be removed or extended), but we won’t know for sure until the amendments are published.

Although lots of people are merrily submitting new applications and starting work on larger home extensions, we recommend homeowners hold off until we know the scheme is being renewed. If it is not, and you are in breach of planning, you might have to demolish it. That’s the worst-case scenario. It is likely you will be able to go ahead with this extension, but a little later in the year than planned.
Martin Gaine, founder, Just Planning;