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planning permission

If you’re looking to make improvements before a quick house sale, it can be a little confusing when working out whether you need planning permission for certain changes within your home. In many cases planning permission isn’t necessary but you need to be aware of what is classed as ‘permitted’, otherwise you may need to go through the arduous process of gaining planning permission through your local council.

In 2008, the government changed the rules for planning regulations, allowing more people to go ahead with work to their home without needing to apply or planning permission. Caroline Flint explained that “the new rules would cut out planning permission for about 80,000 households per year…which could save people as much as £1000.”

Of course regulations still need to be adhered to, so it’s important to understand the guidelines for size and position of your project. Otherwise you could be faced with having to remove something if the planning department decide you need to apply for permission and your application is rejected.

You also need to bear in mind that in some cases, the regulations are likely to differ; particularly if you live in a listed building, conservation area or area of outstanding natural beauty for example. In this case, you will need to get advice and be prepared to hold back any elaborate ideas for design.

Essentially if your project doesn’t cover more than half the area of the land around the original house then you don’t necessarily need to apply for planning permission. Any existing extensions will count towards that also, so bear that in mind. It should also not come forward of the front of the property or to the side if that faces the main road.

If you live in a terraced property, a single storey extension does not need planning permission if it does not go more than three metres beyond the rear wall of the house and needs to be no higher than four metres tall. The same dimensions apply to semi-detached properties also for a single storey extension. You can also have a loft conversion done in a terraced property, but it cannot have a volume of more than 40 cubic metres or 50 cubic metres in a semi-detached or detached property.

Anything more than these measurements or dimensions will need planning permission. It is always best to get advice, particularly if you are unsure about anything regarding the planning procedure or whether you need planning permission at all. Your local planning department will be able to answer any questions you have regarding the necessity of planning for your project and the process involved if you are advised to do so.

Unfortunately in many cases, people will pay for work to be completed only to discover that they have to apply for planning permission and unfortunately if it is rejected you are likely to be told to take your extension down or adjust the dimensions. With the cost of planning permission and then having to make significant changes or removing things altogether it can prove incredibly costly so ensure you are absolutely certain before you go ahead.

by Cormac Henderson

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