Dreaming about a renovation, remodelling or an extension to your house, yet not quite sure if you need to go through the whole planning-permission procedure? Many home improvement projects can be completed under Permitted Development Rights, which says that you do not need to apply for planning permission.
But what exactly is planning permission? It is the official consent from the local planning authority, designed to control inappropriate development. It is required for projects such as building a new house and adding outbuildings (depending on their sizes), but not for the following 20 improvements…
Various single-storey extensions may be built without planning permission, as long as the extension accords with the following:
• The extension does not sit forward of the principal elevation.
• Materials should be similar.
• Where it is within 2 m of any boundary, the eaves cannot be higher than 3 m, and no more than 4 m in height otherwise.
• Rear extensions—no more than 4 m in depth (detached house) or 3 m in depth (semi-detached or terrace).
• Side extensions—the width of the extension must not be greater than half the width of the original dwelling. Side extensions are not permitted on Article 1(5) Land (such as a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty / AONB).
If your planning doesn’t involve extending the overall footprint of your home, then Permitted Development (PD) allows you to proceed without obtaining planning permission.
However, you need to follow Building Regulations guidance for some aspects, such as structural elements and electrical works.
You don’t generally require permission to replace or add new windows in the original walls of your house. However, planning permission may be required if conditions were attached to the original permission.
Double glazing can be installed under PD, providing the building is not listed. And when it comes to bigger windows or doors, you will need to follow Building Regulations guidance.
Bear in mind that bay windows are classed as extensions. Planning permission to insert a new window / door opening is not required as long as any upper floor windows on the side elevation are glazed with obscured glass (level 4 or 5 obscurity). These must also be fixed into a non-opening frame (unless the opener is more than 1.7 m above the floor of the room in which the window is installed).
Should you wish to alter the internal space within an existing part of the building, like creating an internal garage, you may proceed under PD providing you are not increasing the overall footprint of the dwelling.
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Alterations can be made to a dwelling’s roof under PD. However, roof lights (or skylights) are not permitted under PD where they would be extending forward of the roof plane on the elevation fronting a highway. But they are allowed if they don’t project more than 15 cm from the roof slope.
Remember that roof lights are not permitted on a dwelling which is located in an Article 4 Direction Area, such as a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
When it comes to creating more space, loft conversions are one of the most popular additions – and they may not require planning permission. PD allows for the construction of dormer windows, which would provide additional headroom within a converted attic. However, these may not sit higher than the highest part of your existing roof, or extend forward of the roof plane on the principal elevation.
Note that there are also limitations on the cubic content allowed under PD, but generally up to 40 m³ is acceptable.
A two-storey extension may be built under PD if it’s located at the rear of the house (this includes the addition of a second storey onto an existing single-storey part of the house).
But remember that your two-storey extension must not exceed 3 m in depth or be within 7 m of the rear boundary. Specific restrictions also apply to the glazed nature of windows in such extensions.
These structures fall under the same restrictions as single-storey extensions. And seeing as they are often fairly modest in size, they may be built without planning permission.
A larger plot presents more opportunities to build multiple outbuildings under PD, providing that the total area covered by such buildings/enclosures does not exceed 50% of the total area of the curtilage. This 50% should take into account any extensions, but not the area covered by the main house.
Outbuildings may not sit forward of the principal elevation, and are subject to height restrictions depending on the type of roof (4 m for dual pitch roofs, 3 m for other roofs, and 2.5 m when the building is within 2 m of the boundary). Outbuildings may only be single-storey, with the maximum eaves height remaining at 2.5 m.
Bear in mind that an outbuilding’s use needs to be ‘incidental’ to that of the main house, such as a gym, garage, storing facility, etc. Outbuildings under PD cannot be used for residential accommodation (like a bedroom), but can be used to provide a place to work from home.
Converting two houses, such as a pair of semis or two flats, into one property may be achieved under PD, and would save you from moving out of a beloved area.
However, if you were considering the option of dividing a property into two dwellings, unfortunately the same rules do not apply and you would need to apply for planning permission.
For more helpful home advice, check out these: 20 sure-fire ways to add value to your home.