The government is seeking public input on proposals to make changes to the activities that can be undertaken without requiring a planning application.

The aim is to make the process of conducting smaller and less controversial development easier, faster and cheaper.

Proposed legislation will also reduce the number of requests going through the planning application process, making the process quicker for applicants and driving efficiency in the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture’s planning and building control directorate.

The department deals with around 1,400 applications each year with more than 60% relating to smaller proposals.

For example, around 70 people each year apply to replace windows to properties in zoned conservation areas. 

The 12-week consultation seeks views on a number of proposals to streamline the current system, including:

  • more than doubling the size of extensions that can be added to houses, depending on the size of the house and garden
  • new provisions for porches, dormers and chimney pipes
  • significantly increasing works that can be undertaken in Conservation Areas including replacement windows and - in back gardens - sheds, greenhouses, extensions and air source heat pumps
  • providing powers for local authorities to install play equipment and public art, and to hold events
  • expanding permitted development for operations which can be undertaken at the Grandstand/Nobles Park during events

The expansion of permitted development orders, which automatically grant planning approval for certain building works and changes of use, forms part of the government’s ongoing built environment reform programme.

The proposed changes and the opportunity to provide your views on them can found on the government’s consultation hub at

The consultation opened closes on September 2.

Email [email protected] for help and support in completing a response.