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When is Planning Permission Needed?

[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”big” animation=”none” background=”plain”]For many people adding to their current home is the preferred option than moving to a new one.  It may be that more space is needed or that a dedicated space for a specific reason is required.  It might be that the homeowner wants to add to their home and make it more attractive for sale in the long term.  Whatever the case, when work is being done it may fall under the official system known as planning permission – but what work requires planning permission and what can be done without it?[/dt_quote]

Planning permission basics

Generally, if you are building something new, making a major change to the building such as an extension or changing the use of a building, then you will likely need planning permission.  To find out, you can contact your local planning authority who will be able to confirm if this is the case and what you need to do.

Planning permission can be applied for online in most cases but you cannot carry out the work until you have it.  If you do, you could face an enforcement notice that requires you to undo the work done – so take down an extension or remove a garage, for example, if they should have had the permission in the first place.

The good news is that there is a range of building projects that don’t require planning permission and fall under what is called ‘permitted development rights’.  For homeowners, the kinds of developments that might fall under this include those that have no impact on neighbours or on the environment.  Again, the local planning authority can offer exact advice on this for your area.

Things you can do without planning permission

While it always pays to check before starting the work, there are a range of things you can do under permitted development rights or PDR.  

Internal remodelling

If you are changing the internal layout of the house without extending the overall footprint (size) of it, then you can often do this work under PDR.  Watch out for building regulations that will apply to aspects of the project such as structural elements or anything effecting gas or electricity.

If you are adding a garage as an integral part of your home, then this can count as internal remodelling and doesn’t require any planning permission, again as long as the overall footprint isn’t increased.

Single storey extensions

You can add a single storey extension to your home as long as it applies to certain standards.  These include:

  • Extension isn’t forward of the principle elevation
  • Materials are similar to the home
  • It is no more than three metres high if within two metres of a boundary and no more than four metres high anywhere else
  • Rear extension are no more than four metres in depth on a detached house or three metres on a semi-detached or terrace
  • Side extensions are no wider than half the width of the original property
  • You aren’t in a conservation area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Conservatories

Both conservatories and orangeries are treated under the regulations in much the same way as single storey extensions.  So if they follow the rules stated above, then they usually don’t require planning permission.

Porches

Porches need to be no taller than three metres to avoid the need for planning permission and must not have a ground area bigger than three square metres.  They also need to be more than two metres away from a boundary beside a highway – in other words, the street – so if your front door opens onto your street, you can’t add a porch without planning permission.

Garden features

Several garden features can be added without planning permission providing they comply with a few rules.  Gates, walls and fences, for example, need to be under one metre in height when next to a highway and no more than two metres high anywhere else.  There is an exclusion regarding listed buildings but this is the case with almost everything else too.

Decking is a great way to create a garden feature and if this is on the ground, then planning permission isn’t required.  If you are planning to make a raised platform for the decking then it would need permission if it is more than 300mm in height.

External renovations

If you want to add cladding to the exterior of your building, you can do this as long as you don’t fall within Article 1 (5) areas such as conservation areas.  Otherwise, it falls under permitted development and can be done without planning permission.

Solar panels are a popular way to gain power for your home and save on utility bills.  You can add them to your roof as long as they are no more than 200mm above the plane of the wall or roof and that the highest part of them isn’t above the highest part of the roof (but not including the chimney).  There are limits that apply to free standing panels to check.