When does Planning Permission Apply?

Lisa Raynes

by Lisa Raynes

28/09/2016, in Main Blog

Do I Need Planning Permission?

You always need a planning permission for new buildings, major changes to existing developments, demolitions and sometimes for the change of use of land or buildings. Some minor developments, such as small extensions to your house, may not require planning permission, as they would have little or no impact on the environment. They are known as permitted developments (PD).

But what exactly is a PD?

If your planned extension is relatively small, at the back of your house, does not overlook the neighbours, doesn’t take up half of your garden and is not visible from the road, you might safely assume that it would be classified as a PD. You should be able to find detailed guidelines about PD and self-assessment forms on your local council’s website. Bear in mind, that if your property is listed, you live in a conservation area or in a recent development, your PD rights have been revoked.

In conservation areas such as this one in Altrincham, the PD rights are revoked. Residents must seek planning permission for every change to the front of their houses, including a change of windows and front doors.

you will need planning permission to do any works to a house in a conservation area. The Linotype Estate, Lawrence Road Altrincham

The rules of PDs have been relaxed in recent years. Today householders are allowed to build larger single-story extensions without submitting a full planning application. Their permitted sizes have been doubled from 4 to 8 metres for detached houses, and from 3 to 6 metres for all other types of houses. These rules are supposed to stay in place until 2019.

An example of single-storey extension of a semi-detached property, situated at the back of the house. This development was within PD rules and didn’t require a full planning application. (Image: Pride Road)

1930s semi architect.jpg5

Types of applications

However, we would always advise our clients to apply for a planning permission anyway. Why? Because when it comes to selling a property, most people want a formal piece of paper – a proof that the extension was built with accordance to planning regulations. This is called a lawful development certificate (LDC).

If you are sure that your project fits within the PD, you should to make an application to your local council on the planning portal (www.planningportal.co.uk). You will need:

  • plans of the building site, edged red
  • existing plans and elevations
  • proposed plans and elevations
  • payment of about £80

The planning authority should issue a LDC within 8 weeks.

In case when your project cannot be classed as a PD or if planning rules change (yes, it happens!), you will need to apply for a full planning permission. For this you need the same as above:

  • a site edged red
  • existing plans and elevations
  • proposed plans and elevations
  • relevant fee – depending on the size and type of the future development.

Your permission will also be determined within 8 weeks. It may take 13 weeks for larger applications.

So what is the difference? A full planning application is consulted with all interested parties. They will be: your neighbours, highway authorities, civic societies, and sometimes – the police. The authorities will also take into account tree protection orders and a possible noise and light pollution – all depending on a type of your planned development.

Your rights

Your local council should be able to supply all the information you need for submitting a successful application. You have a right to discuss your plans with your local planning authority before filling up the form and to receive a sufficient guidance in the process. You also have the right to appeal to the secretary of state if your application is refused or if the permission is attached with conditions.

If you don’t want to navigate this maze yourself, ask your architect for help. We are experienced in dealing with planners and will safely guide you through the rules and regulations.