Answer: It is possible in some circumstances to make alterations to a property without applying for planning permission, providing a development right is in place. These are granted by parliament, not by your council, and help cut out a lot of paperwork.
However, permitted development rights are subject to limitations and restrictions.
Whether you can carry out the alterations to your property depends on the extent of the works you are planning, and also the area where you live and if your property is listed.
Some areas of the country are known as designated areas. In those areas, permitted development rights may be removed or are more restricted.
If you live in an area of outstanding natural beauty or in a conservation area, it is likely that your local planning authority has issued an Article 4 direction to restrict or remove permitted development rights.
Contact your local planning authority to discuss the alterations you intend to do.
Remember to apply for building regulation consent and also listed building consent if your house is listed.
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These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.