Permitted development for schools

At Plainiew Planning we regularly work with state and private schools, providing planning consultancy services to facilitate extensions and conversions.

Many extensions are large and require full planning permission. Whilst the principle of development is invariably acceptable, proposals can sometimes be stopped on technicalities. For instance, a recent case in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea faced problems due to impact on the root protection area of a nearby tree.

One of the advantages of working with Plainview Planning is we will aim to foresee such issues, and provide feedback on the design to ensure you get planning permissions promptly.

The other advantage is that we can devise strategies that may side-step the delays and costs of a formal planning application. Schools have several permitted development rights available to them under Part 12 (Local Authorities) and Part 32 (Schools, Universities and Hospitals) of the General Permitted Development Order 1995 (as amended).

Part 32 of the GPDO rights allow extensions up to 25% of original floorspace of the school or 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser).

Part 12 ¬†of the GPDO is more interesting for schools run by local authorities as it allows “any small ancillary building, works or equipment on land belonging to or maintained by them required for the purposes of any function exercised by them”. This has the potential to allow great flexibility for schools to expand, although one could argue that new classrooms constitute a ‘primary’ use rather than ‘ancillary’.

The above permitted development rights do include various caveats, and so we would always recommend securing a Certificate of Lawfulness to get a formal opinion from the Local Planning Authority to ensure they agree with our interpretation of the GPDO.

If you wish to discuss extending your school or college please, or the planning issues surrounding Free Schools or nurseries, contact the team via to find our how we can best assist you.