Do I need planning permission for my extension?

One of the first and most frequently asked questions our architects will be asked is ‘do I need planning permission for my extension?’ Very often the answer will be yes, but in fact a more relevant question to ask might be ‘what are my permitted development rights?’

What are permitted development rights?

First things first. Permitted development rights allow you to perform a certain amount of work on a property without the need for planning permission. These rights come from general planning permission granted by parliament as opposed to your local authority.

What is allowed within permitted development rights has changed recently, with the rules becoming slightly more relaxed. From May 2016, attached properties (semi or terraced) can have a single storey extension of up to 6 metres, with detached properties able to build single storey extensions of up to 8 metres without planning permission. Before this, anything over 3 and 4 metres respectively would have required an application.

What do I need to check before planning an extension?

Extension planning is essential. While the permitted development rights rules have been relaxed, you do still need to ensure your property isn’t a listed building, isn’t situated in a conservation area and hasn’t already used up its existing permitted development rights.

The extension must not cover any more than half of the original garden (which includes any outbuildings) and must not contravene the ‘right to light’ regulations – which protects the amount of natural light your neighbours receive. As with all extensions, you will also need to share your plans with those neighbours for their approval.

How will the extension affect the future sale of my house?

If your extension fits within the rules of permitted development rights, you will likely want to have something in writing in case you come to sell the property at a later date. This formal piece of paper is called a certificate of lawful development and it usually takes up to 8 weeks to receive a determination. To receive one, you will need:

  • a site edged red
  • existing plans and elevations
  • proposed plans and elevations
  • payment of about £75

However, if your planned project sits outside the rules of personal development rights, or if the rules change during the process, you will need to submit a full planning application. If this is the case, the determination time of 8 weeks is the same and to make receive the certificate you will need to provide:

  • a site edged red
  • existing plans and elevations
  • proposed plans and elevations
  • payment of about £175
  • additional reports dependent on local requirements
  • Who do I need to tell about my extension?

Regardless of whether your extension or project needs a full planning application, there are people you will need to tell to get approval. The main difference is for that for a full planning application all interested parties will be consulted, which could include some or all of the following:

  • Neighbours
  • Civic society
  • Highways
  • Police

What else do I need to know about my planning permission?

Very often, people don’t realise that conservatories as well as extensions can require planning permission. Of course, if your plans fall within permitted development rights it is more likely to be approved, but this will depend on its size.

In all planning application cases you may be asked to submit additional reports and if you live in a conservation area, listed development or recent development you may find your permitted development rights have been revoked.

At Pride Rd, one of the things our architects do is ensure our clients are completely comfortable with the planning process. This may be as simple as talking you through permitted development rights, or helping with every stage of a full application. We can risk assess things for you, let you know what things might come up, advise on materials, register the application and help you respond if it’s rejected. So don’t worry, you’re in safe hands.