We’ve got big plans for extending our home, and one of the biggest concerns is planning permission. I mentioned this in a recent blog post, and James who works for Balustrade Components sent across the below post to help explain things easily.

One hurdle which acts as a barrier to home improvements and building is the need for planning permission. Nobody enjoys form filling and the bureaucracy to gain planning permission is a genuine pain. So here is a general guide to the dos and don’ts of seeking planning permission.

What is the point of planning permission?

Essentially, the point of planning permission is that we all share a space and how this space is used should make sense for everyone. This may be your land – your building – but it can be seen by others. There is a history that might need to be honoured for future generations. So, permission must be sought to make sure there is fair and cohesive decision-making about how our shared living space is used. There should be a policy that planners are following that dictate an overall understanding of the built environment.

When you don’t need it?

The projects that don’t need planning permission are called permitted development rights. These projects usually include industrial buildings and warehouses, some outdoor signs and advertisements and some demolition. However, within these different areas there are some limits, conditions, special rules and differences between planning authorities.

If your building project is likely to have no impact on your neighbours or the local environment, then your project might not require permission. You cannot assume – you should check with your local planning authority. One such example would be an extension of the lower storey of a house.

It is possible to extend the wall for the rear of the property by up to three metres for attached properties, and up to four metres for detached properties without permission. Again, the height of this extension can not be higher than 4 metres. The same could be true for outbuildings.

Internal works and simple changes to external features such as painting the outside of your house, probably don’t need permission. However, it is best to check.

Another way to avoid the full demands of planning permission is to suggest that the building project benefits the local community and this local community supports the project. There are principles of neighbourhood planning and the community right to build in England that allows your community to grant you planning permission directly.

When do you need planning permission?

It is much easier to define when you do need planning permission, as the exceptions to planning permission tend to be scattered with other conditions and other laws that need clarification.

You will need planning permission if you want to build something completely new. If you want to make a major change to your building, (such as the building of an extension or the rebuilding of a garage), or if you want to change the usage of your building, (let’s say from commercial to residential).

An easy way to judge is if you need drawings for the completion of the project… If you do, it is probable you need some form of planning permission.

Don’t assume that the cutting down of trees or the changing to external boundaries – such as the building of a wall – is minor. There may be tree protection orders, or a designation of how high a wall can be, and how close it can come to the road.

The easiest way to find out if your project needs planning permission is to contact your local planning authority. If you live in a conservation area, then just assume you do need permission – even for minor changes.

Beginning the planning permission process

You apply for planning permission online. This requires you to jump through some hoops – providing details of the changes and the potential impacts. You may be required to display a notice of the works in your local area. This will be sent to you by the planning authority. They may require a site visit to check that the work you proposed is the work you have carried out.

You might think you can get started building whilst the planning permission is being sought. This is a risk. The law says you need the permission before you begin. If you carry out work without this permission, you can be serviced with an enforcement notice. This notice will order you to do undo the changes you have made. You cannot ignore this notice – this is illegal – but you do have the right to appeal. This means work stops. You can wait for the decision of the appeal before actioning the order to undo the changes, though.

Have you ever sought planning permission? How did it go? 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.