Planning Permission Advice Get conveyancer quotes

Making your dream home a reality

So you’ve found your new home. It’s almost perfect but not quite.  An extension or a loft conversion would transform it into your dream property. Or maybe you’re going to go all out and build your ideal house on a plot of land you’ve bought. But what about planning permission?

Do I need planning permission?

Gaining planning permission is generally a requirement for constructing new buildings, home extensions and major home alterations

As a rule of thumb, you will need planning permission if your planned alteration or extension:

  • is nearer a road, footpath or other type of public access than the nearest part of the original building, unless there is at least 20 metres between the road and your extension
  • covers more than half the area of land around the original building
  • is taller than the highest part of the original building’s roof
  • is higher than four metres within two metres of your property boundary
  • increases the size of the original property by more than 15% or 70 cubic metres, whichever is greater
  • is within 5 metres of another building belonging to your house
  • overshadows a neighbour’s window that has been in place for 20 years or longer
  • is in a conservation area or is part of a listed building

If you’re planning on building a loft conversion, you’ll need to get planning permission if the conversion:

  • includes a roof extension or a dormer window that is going to extend beyond the plane of the current roof slope and is facing a road
  • makes any part of the property higher than the highest part of the existing roof
  • increases the volume of a terraced house by more than 10% or 50 cubic metres (whichever is greater)
  • increases the volume of any other kind of house by more than 15% or 70 cubic metres  (whichever is greater)
  • adds more than 40 cubic metres to the volume of a terraced house
  • adds more than 50 cubic metres to the volume of any other kind of house

Get planning permission first

Don’t start any major construction work on your property until you have been granted planning permission.  Applying for planning permission after the work’s been done can mean you have to demolish the work if your application is refused.

If you buy a house with the intention of developing it or purchase a plot of land to build on, it’s a good idea to secure planning permission first. If you don’t you could end up with a house that’s too small for you or a piece of useless land. You don’t have to own the property or land in order to apply for planning permission.

Applying for planning permission

Your first step towards getting planning permission is to contact the planning department of your local council for advice. They’ll tell you if you need to apply for planning permission and if they can foresee any issues that could be overcome with some amendments to your building proposal. If you decide to go ahead with applying for planning permission, the council will send you an application form. Return this with a plan of the site and a copy of the drawings which show the work you’re proposing to undertake, together with the required fee. Your application will be placed on the Planning Register at your council’s offices where they can be inspected by any interested members of the public. Your application will be considered by the planning department and you should receive a decision on your proposal within eight weeks.

If your application is rejected, ask the planning department if modifying your plans would make a difference. You can usually submit a further application, with modified plans, within 12 months of the first decision – at no charge. If you decide to appeal the decision, you should do so within three months.


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Top Tip


Get your neighbours on side and tell them about your proposed development project. Objections from neighbours can negatively affect the decision on whether you’ll be granted planning permission. Have a chat to them and keep them informed every step of the way.


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