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When dealing with the local borough authorities, we find that not all of them are consistent in their approach in dealing with applications especially Permitted Development applications. The reason is the council have their own way of interpreting the rules set out by the government which is very annoying as we try to keep the design consistent based on the Permitted Development policy set out by the government and find that in some council's will change the design principles coursing confusion for homeowners and builders trying to understand what is right and what is wrong.

Waltham Forest District Council's Policy on Loft Conversion 200mm set in rule - Jan 2021


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Fig - 1.1

Today we received an email from Waltham forest District Council for a request for an amendment needed to get plans approved for a Hip to gable Loft conversion design with a rear Dormer. The council asked for our team to set the rear dormer cheek wall in by 200mm from the main house rear external face wall as opposed to the normal 200mm set in from along the roof plane as noted in the Permitted development framework. 


Our team was quite surprised by this request so we then replied to the

case officer in charge explaining that all of our loft conversion designs are

based on the measurement across the roof plane set in by 200mm.

We stressed that this design principle has always been the case and that

all other 31 borough planning departments have had no objections

with the dormer design being set across the roof plane in the past.

This demonstrates that all the other borough councils keep it consistent 

across the board interpretation in design the same way. We advised  

Waltham Forest council that we have on record evidence with 1000's

of approved certificates being issued by all 31 other boroughs based

on this design principle by means of our clients obtaining a certificate of lawfulness with plans being issued and approved as per the guidelines written in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government Technical guidance Booklet - Sep 2019

See diagram above, Fig 1.1, and text from the guidelines published set out below:

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The Guidelines Published State the Following:

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Text from page 35 Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government Technical Guidance - Sep 2019



Mr Domenech,


Thank you for your email.


We have recently been reviewing PD developments, and also the legal position on how assessments are made, and the current position on dormer PD assessments is based on the following:


A High Court Ruling has provided a clear ruling  relating to the matter of where the 200mm set back from eaves should be taken on roof for dormer– a summary of this ruling is given at the link below


The High Court judgment, which was handed down on 18/06/2013, found that the advice in the DCLG "Technical Guidance" document (August 2010) was incorrect in relation to condition B.2(b) of Part 1 Class B of the GPDO 1995:

The High Court judgment found that that the 20cm set back should be measured from the closest point of the projecting eaves (which is the intersection with the wall), rather than from the outer edge of the projecting eaves.

It should be noted that the DCLG, having since issued various version (recently 2019 version), and has failed to issue an update to  "Technical Guidance" document to correct its position to comply with  High Court Decision. This is very disappointing, because anyone not aware of the High Court Judgement would only be looking at the advice that is still currently provided by the government about its own legislation, only to subsequently find out that their roof extension is unlawful (and potentially subject to enforcement action).

The interpretation set out by the above High Court judgment takes precedence over the technical guidance. Please note that the technical guidance is what the name suggests, a guidance note and not a legal document. In assessing application, you would look at the GDPO legislation, any legal decisions (ie. High Court Decisions), and then refer to technical guidance for guidance purposes only.

Please also no