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10 Questions to help you know if you need planning permission

Building Regulations

It might seem obvious to those in “the know”, but one of the things we get here more regularly than you might imagine, is people asking for us to do planning applications for work that doesn’t actually need planning permission at all!

On the face of it I suppose you might imagine that that seems like a silly thing to do, but I can assure you, knowing whether your project actually needs planning permission is not as easy as it might seem.

The key phrase here, and the source of the confusion, is “permitted development rights”. Or more specifically The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. This is a fairly lengthy piece of legislation which, in a nutshell, details, as best it can, what development is not permitted. I.e. what development you will require planning permission for.

I’ve written this article to try to help the everyday person, self-builder, extender-er, understand what they can do without planning permission.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of 10 questions to ask yourself to know if you need planning along with tips on how to change your design to tackle them.

1. What are you doing?

Seems like an obvious one this, but this is the first question you need to ask yourself. What do you intend to do? At first glance what you can and can’t build without planning can seem illogical. For example, you can build certain types of extensions without planning (meaning foundations, bricks, mortar, roof), but you can’t put up signs or advertisements on buildings if they are bigger than 300mm x 300mm without permission. (see a full list of rules on Planning Permission for Advertisements and Signs).
If you are building a new permanent development, you will need planning permission. Guaranteed.
If you are building an extension, or doing works to windows, read on because its not so clear cut.

2. How big is it?

Since we know that if you are building a new build you will need planning, this question should only be asked by those intending to extend an existing property.
So here are the rules regarding the height and width and position of your extension.

You will need planning if any of the following apply:

· The total area of ground covered by buildings within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse, as a result of the proposed works, would be more than 50% of the total area of the curtilage (not including the existing building).

· The height of the extension is higher than the highest part of the roof of the existing house.

· The height of the eaves of the extension exceed the height of the eaves of the existing house.

· The extension extends beyond the line of any side elevation. Meaning you can only extend from the rear elevation.

· It is a single storey extension that extends beyond 4 metres from the rear elevation of a detached house, and 3 metres in all other houses, or exceeds 4 metres in height.

Note that until 30th May 2019, this has been extended to 8 metres and 6 metres respectively. Height must not exceed 4 metres.

· The extension is within 7 metres of the rear boundary with another house.

· The extension will have more than one storey or be more than half the width of the original house.

· The extension includes the construction of a veranda, balcony, or raised platform.

If any of the above apply to your extension, then you will need planning permission.

3. How visible is it?

If you plan to do building work to a highway/street facing elevation of a house you may need planning permission, but this isn’t clear cut either. For example if you want to build a porch, you won’t normally need planning permission, but if that porch is more than 3 square metres in size, is more than 3 metres high, or it is within 2 metres of a neighbouring property then you will. Find out more about planning for porches. If you want to extend the side of your house, you will need planning permission, but only if it’s more than  one storey high, more than 4 metres long, or within 2 metres of another property. You want to construct a wall in your front garden, you will need planning, but only if it’s over a metre in height next to a highway, or 2 metres high elsewhere.

A really great website to help you decide if what you’re doing requires planning is, www.doineedplanningpermission.co.uk. We recommend checking it out because theres no way all the information for every element or situation could be covered in one article.

4. What materials are you using?

The test here really is, are you replacing like-for-like? If the answer to that question in terms of repair to buildings then you will not need planning. You will want to check the status of the building regarding any listings or conservation areas. It may also be worth while submitted a Permitted Development Application if you are in any doubt unsure that what you propose to do is compliant, because planners can be funny about this. But strictly speaking, replacement on a like-for-like basis for the purposes of repair does not require planning.

If you plan to demolish and rebuild, even if the materials are matched like-for-like, then this work will require planning permission.

If you plan to extend your property, then whilst you will need planning permission, again subject to the items in question 2 above and the nature of the proposed works,  you can increase the chances of gaining planning approval if you use materials that match the existing building.

5. How close to the neighbours are you?

As mentioned in question 2, if you extend within 7 metres of a rear boundary, or if you extend within 2 metres of any boundary with another house, you will need planning permission.

6. What about windows and doors?

Windows and external doors can usually be replaced without planning permission, as long as the replacement is in keeping with the style of the house, and the property is not Listed of in a Conservation Area. Similarly you will not need planning for repairs to windows.

The Planning Portal’s page on Planning Permission for Doors and Windows is a useful guide to help you.

7. Is it Listed?

If you propose to do works to a Listed Building, you will almost certainly need Listed Building Consent, and possibly planning consent too. This extends to changing windows, external doors, internal alterations, certain repair works, reroofing. The rules listed in question 2 do not necessarily apply to Listed Buildings. If you are unsure whether the building is listed you can find out on the Historic England website.

8. Is it in a Conservation or otherwise protected area?

If you live in a Conservation area the rules in question 2 will not necessary apply. You will be subject to more stringent regulation as to your rights to develop your property. You will also be required to submit an application for Conservation Area Consent.

9. Are you changing the use of the building?

If you are changing the use of the building, for example from a house to a shop, you will need to submit a Change of Use planning application. You can review the planning use Classes here. These are the groups into which the planning regulations breakdown property uses.

10. Is there a Local / Neighbourhood Development Order or Article 4 Direction?

If there is a Local Development Order, a Neighbourhood Development Order, or an Article 4 Direction, these can be used to override the rules identified in question 2 regarding your permitted development rights. Subsequently you should check to see if any of these are in place in your area. Again, if you are unsure, it is always advised that you apply for Permitted Development consent. This will give you the piece of mind that the works you propose to do comply with planning, and you avoid running the risk of having a possible enforcement order requiring that your new extension is demolished.

You can search your local planning website for information about whether there is a Local Development Order or Neighbourhood Development Order in your area.

If you are still unsure whether your proposal required planning permission, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.

Alternatively here are some useful links to help you decide:
Permitted Development Rights

Planning Portal – Do You Need Permission

www.doineedplanningpermission.co.uk

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