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Details of new right to build upwards

A new right to extend many existing homes in England upwards came into force on 31 August 2020.

The rule changes to allow additional storeys apply to buildings constructed between 1 July 1948 and 5 March 2018.

Up to two additional living-accommodation storeys are allowed above houses of two storeys or more, or one additional storey on top of one storey houses.

Existing accommodation in the roof space of the existing house, including a loft extension, is not considered as a storey for the purposes of this new "right to build up".

There is also a limit to the height of the newly extended house. It can't be more than 18 metres high. And where the house is in a terrace its height cannot be more than 3.5 metres higher than the next tallest house in the terrace.

Additionally, windows cannot be installed in a side elevation of an additional storey built under this right.

"Prior approval" from your local authority will still be needed to cover certain issues including:

  • overlooking, privacy and overshadowing of neighbouring premises;

  • design, including the architectural features of the principal elevation of the house, and of any side elevation which fronts a highway; and

  • any impacts on air traffic or defence assets and certain protected vistas.

None of these new rights to build upwards apply in any conservation area, national park, area of outstanding natural beauty, site of special scientific interest or the Norfolk Broads.

If you'd like to know if your existing home can be extended upwards using these new rights, you can contact by calling 0845 170 8050 or by emailing


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