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Do You Need Planning Permission For An Extension?

Property Saviour » Planning Permission » Do You Need Planning Permission For An Extension?

If you are thinking of extending your home, you’ll need planning permission.

It is so easy to be persuaded by your builder that you don’t need planning permission.  But it is best to consult with a planning consultant or risk enforcement action resulting in prosecution & fines.

To ensure that you can build your forever home, our article explains how to go about gaining planning permission.

Table of Contents

Do I need planning permission for an extension?

If you’re thinking about making changes to your home, you’ll be thinking ‘Do I need planning permission for an extension?’ An extension or addition to your house is considered to be permitted development.

Therefore, you don’t need to go through the extra hassle of obtaining planning permission for an extension as long as these conditions are met:

  • Your extension is not more than half the area of the land around the original house
  • Your extension is not in front of the main elevation or side elevation onto a highway
  • Your extension is not higher than the highest part of the roof
  • In the case of single-storey extensions, it must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than eight metres for a detached house or more than six metres for any other house
  • The maximum height of your single-storey rear extension is not higher than four metres
  • Extensions of more than one storey are not allowed to extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres
  • Side extensions must be single-storey, with a maximum height of four metres and a width no more than half that of the original house
  • Two-storey extensions must be at least seven metres away from the rear boundary
  • The materials used must be similar in appearance to the existing house
  • Your extension should not include verandas, balconies or raised platforms
  • Any upper-floor, side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed, with any opening being 1.7m above the floor

As for conservatories, they are categorised in the same way as any other extension, as outlined above. However, different rules on extension planning permission apply to flats and maisonettes, as well as to designated areas such as Conservation Areas and listed properties.

If you’re unsure, it’s best to check with your local planning authority.

You may also want to consider hiring a planning consultant or structural engineer to help you, as planning rules are complex and open to interpretation.

Do I need planning permission for a garage conversion?

In most cases, you can complete a garage conversion under permitted development rights as long as you don’t alter the structure of the building.

However, make sure to check the deeds of the property for any planning conditions, such as having to keep it as a parking space.

For nearly all internal works, such as loft conversions, garage conversions, new staircases, bathroom refurbishment, kitchen renovation, or rewiring, you don’t need planning permission.

But, if you are making changes to a listed property or living in a Conservation area, it is best to get advice from an architect about your designs. They can help you to understand local planning requirements.

Do You Need Planning Permission For An Extension
It is beneficial to discuss any site problems, such as roads, footpaths, power cables, watercourses, sewers, and telephone lines.

How to get Planning Permission For a house extension?

It is best to hire a good planning consultant who understands the local planning policy and has an excellent track record of gaining planning permissions.

They can help you determine local planning restrictions, build targets, and preferences to make sure your proposal aligns with their planning policy.

Before submitting your application, it can be helpful to have an informal meeting with your local planning authority (LPA). Note that some LPAs may charge a fee for this service.  This is also called a pre-planning advice meeting and isn’t legally binding.

This meeting is beneficial in that it allows you to understand any potential concerns the LPA may have and also gives them advanced notice of your upcoming application.

In preparation for the LPA meeting, it is essential to have well-defined plans and proposals ready. Be prepared to explain your ideas and, if possible, present designs with current floor plans, elevations, and the proposed changes.

According to the Planning Portal, it is recommended to ask for an assessment of your likelihood of obtaining planning permission.

It is beneficial to discuss any site problems, such as roads, footpaths, power cables, watercourses, sewers, and telephone lines.

Take the opportunity to ask about potential issues such as noise and traffic and whether the council might impose conditions to resolve these issues rather than just refusing planning permission.

Planning application drawings

Obtaining planning permission can be a complex process, but a key step is to create design drawings. These could be for a small, simple single-storey extension or something more ambitious.

The drawings should be to scale and show how the project fits in with its surroundings.

You can do the drawings yourself or hire a local architect who specialises in obtaining planning permission. The plans need to be accurate and should include floor plans as well as internal and external elevations.

As well as your designs, you’ll likely need technical drawings for building regulations approval and to give to your builder.

These provide detailed plans for every element of your project and the materials to be used. A structural engineer can assess your existing and proposed plans and suggest the building materials required, along with any necessary reinforcements and their placement. They can also prepare the technical drawings you’ll need.

Applying for planning permission

When you’re ready, you can submit your plans for approval online. Most applications are made via the Planning Portal, which covers England, and Planning Applications Wales for Wales.

Your local planning authority (LPA) will then decide whether to grant planning permission based on its local planning rules and development plan. Usually, decisions are made within 8 weeks, but if it takes longer, you can appeal. If you are refused permission, you can also appeal.

Planning permission for garages, sheds and other outbuildings
Permitted development rules usually cover outbuildings such as sheds, garages, greenhouses and garden rooms, so you won't need planning permission. 

Planning permission for garages, sheds and other outbuildings

Permitted development rules usually cover outbuildings such as sheds, garages, greenhouses and garden rooms, so you won’t need planning permission.  But you will still need building regulations; check with your planning consultant.

The outbuilding must be no higher than 4 metres and must not take up more than half the land around the original property. However, there may be exceptions so contact your LPA or visit the Planning Portal for further details.

Planning permission for windows and doors

In most cases, you don’t need planning permission to replace or repair windows and doors with ones of similar appearance. Building regulation approval is required for any glazing replacement work, or you can use a registered installer.

Listed properties are the exception, and you’ll need listed building consent as well as sign-off from your local Building Control team.

You’ll need planning permission if you’re fitting a skylight that protrudes more than 150mm beyond the plane of the roof or if it is higher than the highest point of the roof.

You’ll also need planning permission if fitting an upper-floor side elevation window that is not obscure-glazed and can open (unless the opening part is 1.7 metres from the floor of the room).

Paving over the front garden: Do I need planning permission?

As long as you use a porous material, there is no need for planning permission, regardless of the size of the new hard standing.

However, if your material is impermeable and covers more than 5 square metres, you do need to apply for planning permission. Examples of permeable surfaces that allow water to drain through them are gravel, permeable concrete block paving, and porous asphalt.

You also don’t need permission if the surface is sloped so that rainwater can move towards a lawn or border and drain naturally.

But, if you wish to lay a non-permeable material, such as a stone or concrete driveway, that covers more than 5 square metres, you will need to get planning permission.

External Walls And Roof for minor exterior maintenance or improvements
Cladding can be done without planning permission, as long as the materials are similar to those already used on the house.

External walls and roof

For minor exterior maintenance or improvements such as painting, you don’t need planning permission. However, this doesn’t apply to listed buildings. If you live in a conservation area or an area of outstanding natural beauty, you’ll need permission to alter the exterior appearance of your home.

Cladding can be done without planning permission, as long as the materials are similar to those already used on the house.

If you live in a flat and want to change the walls or roof, it’s important to consult the local planning authority and your freeholder/landlord before beginning any work.

Planning permission solar panels and wind turbines

Wind turbines that are only intended to be used temporarily do not need planning permission. However, permanent turbines normally do.

If you are not sure, get in touch with your local authority. Solar panels don’t need planning permission unless your home is listed, as long as it meets the limits and conditions set out under permitted development rights. Fences, gates, and walls also do not require planning permission.

Special Considerations

Planning permission is necessary for any fence, gate, or wall:

  • Next to a road and over one metre high,
  • Over two metres and not next to a road,
  • If your house is listed, and if it forms a boundary with a listed building.
Can I build a house in my garden
If your builder isn't too happy with having his work inspected by the council, he's not worth hiring.

Trees and hedges

Tree preservation orders protect many trees, so you must get permission before pruning them. Check with your local council to see if any of the trees on your land are protected.

Getting planning permission for any work done to trees in conservation areas is necessary. To find out if a tree on your property is covered, contact your council.

You are responsible for any hedge on your property. Keep it at any height you like, but ensure it does not become a nuisance to your neighbours.

Can I build a house in my garden?

If you own a sizable piece of land, you may ask yourself if you can build a house in your garden. If you’re planning to construct a self-contained property, there are many steps you must take, including obtaining planning permission.

Your initial step should probably be to consult an architect and discuss the project in detail.

Do I need building regulations as well?

Whether you need to apply for planning permission or not, your building work must still adhere to building regulations. This is for the safety and protection of everyone, as well as to improve energy efficiency (which will reduce bills) and to ensure you can sell your house without any complications in the future.

If your builder isn’t too happy with having his work inspected by the council, he’s not worth hiring.

To provide a quick overview, applications for building regulations are needed for almost all construction projects.

This includes:

  1. New buildings (except for agricultural buildings), garages that are not fully detached and measure under 30 square metres,
  2. Extensions (irrespective of size), some conservatories/porches (where they are separated from the house by doors and are not heated), roof extensions, balconies, roof terraces, basements, and basement extensions.
Do I need a party wall agreement
You must be aware that if you share a wall with your neighbour, you may need a Party Wall Agreement.

Do I need a party wall agreement?

You must be aware that if you share a wall with your neighbour, you may need a Party Wall Agreement.

These are usually necessary for loft conversions, the insertion of damp proof courses and the digging of new foundations, such as for an extension. This is a separate matter from the planning system, but it is something that a lot of people don’t realise until later on in the process.

Would You Be Better off Selling & Buying Instead?

With the high cost of materials and labour, many homeowners prefer to sell and buy their forever home.

If you upsize by selling to us, you become a cash buyer. This can put you in a strong position in a buyer’s market.

Get in touch for a friendly chat about how we can help.

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