Full steam ahead?
You should always gain correct council approvals before build works commence, this will save time money and help to make your home build a pleasurable experience.
Some home improvements are classified by the Planning Authority as being a Permitted Development. This means that your property has been allocated a space for development. I
t’s advised that you submit an application for a lawful development certificate. It’s vital that you have written proof from your local council as some properties will have special restrictions placed upon them.
If you live in a listed property or a specially designated area or have already used up your permitted development rights, you’ll generally need full planning permission for building work.
Choose the type of work you’re planning for your home from the listing below to find out more.
Terraced Houses: the extension can be 50cu m or a 10% increase in size.
Single storey extensions: the roof pitch can't extend past 4m to the ridge or 3m for a flat roof.
Two storey extensions: you can build up to the existing floor level. Technically, this means you shouldn't have any problems adding a second storey above a garage, as long as the extension keeps within 2m of the property's boundary.
these need to be
Less than 3m2 in size
Not more than 3m high
Over 2m away from the property's boundary and the pavement/road.
Structures built in the garden
Examples include sheds or swimming pools. These don't need permission as long as:
They’re not for residential use
They don't front onto a road
Height doesn't exceed 4m (pitched), 3m (flat roof)
They don't exceed more than half the garden size
Adding a garage/ off road parking
Off-road parking is fine as long as it's only on your land and no new route needs to be created for your vehicle to gain access. It's only private vehicles too and should it need to cross a pavement/footpath, written permission from the highways department of your local council is needed to drop the kerb from the road.
Loft, garage or outbuilding conversion
Loft conversions are allowed as long as the general dimensions of the property are unchanged and living space does not exceed 40cu m (terraced house) or 50cu m (detached property). Roof height must be maintained.
Whether you need planning permission to convert a garage or building on your property depends on what you're going to use it for and where you live. You would struggle to get permission to convert a building normally used for parking in London, for example.
Visit your local planning office's website to find out exactly if and why you need planning permission for any intended conversions.
Doors & windows
As a common home improvement measure, replacing windows and doors does not require permission in England and Wales unless you live in a listed property or live in a specially designated area.
Building regulations are needed for such additions such as roof lights and skylights but planning permission is not normally required.
Gates, walls & fences
Any gate, wall, fence or hedge is normally ok as long as its height does not exceed 1m near the boundary to a public highway or 2m elsewhere.
Check your title deed does not say anything about erecting any form of barrier. It's recommended that you talk to your planning office as public highways have a complex set of construction restrictions to them.
Garden Walls also have height and width restrictions placed on them. They depend on what part of the country you live in.
Solar panels & wind turbines
Adding solar panels, wind turbines and other energy efficient products to your home just got a whole lot easier ever since the government introduced incentives and schemes to get homeowners to convert.
If you live in a conservation area or an area of natural beauty you could find it an easier process with the local authority in gaining permission.
However, things like solar panels don't require permission as long as they are a standard design and don't adversely affect the roof line or protrude beyond the slope. Double-check with your local authority and the solar panel company before you proceed.
Wind turbines are an altogether different affair as their dimensions, location, as well as the noise, will be a concern to the planning office. Current legislation is likely to change in the coming year so check with your local planning office.
Solar panels and wind turbines are examples of low or zero carbon energy sources, which you can find out more about by following the available link.
Minor home improvements
Installing a satellite dish or re-rendering/re-cladding your home is fine as long as you do not live in a special area or in a block of flats.
Decoration and other interior changes do not require planning permission and if you need to demolish a part of your property that is fine too as long as it belongs to you and no-one else is affected.
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