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20 things you can do without planning permission


Posted: September, 2020

Do I need planning permission for this? That is a question on the lips of many home improvers. We have listed 20 projects you can take on without needing approval from your local planning authority.

Does your planned home project need planning permission? If you are thinking about knocking down and rebuild or build a huge extension, then the answer is yes, you will need permission from your local authority before you can go ahead with the project.

However, there are numerous smaller improvements to projects that you can undertake without having to go for planning permission. These projects can be anything from installing roof lights, converting your garage, changing your cladding or adding a conservatory. In most cases, they can all be completed with implied consent otherwise known as Permitted Development (PD)

Always check before you start any work to avoid any issues. Especially if you have already made considerable alterations to your home or if you live in a designated area, listed building or any proposal that would have a issues with overlooking neighbours or Right to Light..

Here are our 20 popular home improvement projects that you can achieve without any planning permission.

1 – Does an interior remodel need planning permission?

Remodelling the interior is a great way to add more space to your home and can often be achieved within PD, especially if the work you are proposing does not require you to extend the overall footprint of the dwelling. However, while you won’t need planning permission for this, you will need Building Regulations approval.

2 – Do I need planning permission to move/add windows and doors?

In normal circumstances yes you can replace or add windows in the original walls of your house without needing planning approval. However, you may need planning permission if conditions were attached to any original planning permission. It is important you check with your local authority first if you are unsure on any of the conditions. As long as your building is not Listed or Curtilage Listed then you should be able to install double glazing under PD, but you must remember that for new or bigger windows or doors you will need to follow building regulations guidance. You will need to remember that bay windows are classed as extensions.

3 – Do I need planning permission to convert a garage

Converting an attached building, like an integral garage into a living space also falls under PD as you are not increasing the overall footprint of the building. Converting a standalone garage will involve applying for a change of use under building regulations.

4 – How big can a single-storey extension be without planning permission?

So long as you stay in the below parameters, you can build a single-storey extension without planning permission;

  • The extension does not sit forward of the principal elevation.
  • Materials should be similar.
  • Where it is within 2m of any boundary, the eaves cannot be higher than 3m, and no more than 4m in height.
  • Rear extensions, no more than 4m in depth (detached house) or 3m (semi-detached or terrace).
  • Side extensions the width of the extension must not be greater than half the width of the original dwelling.

5 – I want roof-lights, do I need planning permission?

Under PD you can make alterations to the roof of a dwelling, as long as they do not project more than 15cm from the roof slope. If roof-lights extend forward of the roof plane on the elevation fronting a highway then they are not permitted under PD.

6 – If I convert my loft, do I need planning permission?

Additional space can be achieved through a loft conversion without needing planning consent. While there are limitations on the cubic content allowed under PD, generally up to 40m3 is fine. When it comes to additional headroom in the loft space, PD allows for the construction of dormer windows. However, they must not sit higher than the highest part of the existing roof and not overlook.

7 – Do I need planning permission for a two storey extension?

You can add a two storey extension to your home under PD, providing it is at the rear of the dwelling. This also includes adding a second story onto an existing single storey part of the house. Your two storey extension must not exceed 3m in depth or be within 7m of the rear boundary. This can also apply to windows in extensions.

8 – Does adding a conservatory need planning permission?

Very similar to single storey extensions, conservatories fall under the same restrictions and can be added under PD

9 – If I add a shed or outbuilding, do I need planning permission?

There are many opportunities to build multiple outbuildings under PD, providing the total area covered does not exceed 50% of the total area of the curtilage. This should be taken into account with any extensions, but not the area covered by the main house. Outbuildings cannot sit forward of the principal elevation, the height restrictions depend on the type of roof (4m for dual pitch roofs, 3m for other roofs and 2.5 when the building is within 2m of the boundary) Outbuildings can only be single-storey, with the maximum eaves height remaining at 2.5m.

10 – I want to convert two homes into one, do I need planning permission?

When converting a pair of semis or two flats into one property it can usually be done under PD. However, the same rules do not apply if you are dividing a single property into two dwellings. For this you would need planning permission.

11 – If I add a porch, do I need planning permission?

Here are some of the criteria that will allow you not to need planning permission;

  • No part of the porch can be taller than 3m
  • It cannot be within 2m of any boundary adjacent to a highway
  • ground is measured externally.

12 – Does adding gates, walls and fences need planning permission?

Providing the following work stays within the limitations;

  • The height would not exceed 1m when adjacent to a highway
  • The height would not exceed 2m for any other gate or fence etc
  • This project is not permitted under PD if its a Listed or Curtilage Listed building

13 – Do I need planning permission for a new garden decking?

As long as the height falls below 300mm, garden decking and other similar structures can be built without planning permission.

14 – Do I need planning permission to build a swimming pool?

Under your permitted development rights you are able to build a swimming pool within your garden. This is providing that the total area covered by the pool does not exceed 50% of the area of the garden curtilage.

15 – Do I need planning permission to create new access?

This will depend on the classification of the road you are looking to create access from. It can be done under PD, but you will need planning permission to create accesses onto the classified roads. For new access onto a classified road you will need to ensure sufficient visibility when leaving the site, as well as enough turning space to allow you to enter and exit in a forward gear.

16 – Do I need planning permission to change/add cladding?

Cladding i.e stones, pebble, render, timber etc changes may fall under PD, but is not permitted under PD on any dwelling house.

17 – I want to add solar panels – do I need planning permission?

So solar panels can be added under PD, providing they do not protrude more than 200mm beyond the plane of the wall or roof.

18 – Do I need planning permission to add a basement?

Basements fall under PD, however it is important to remember that PD does not allow for engineering works. Basements are under the general permitted development order GPDO.

19 – If I add/create parking spaces, will I need planning permission?

Class F of the GPDO refers to the provision of hard surfaces. It does fall under PD providing that;

  • any hard surface situated between the principal elevation of the dwelling and the highway.
  • Direct water is made to run off the surface area within the property curtilage and not onto the highway.

20 – Do I need planning permission when converting industrial/commercial buildings?

It is possible to convert an industrial/ commercial building for residential use without needing planning permission. You will need to follow the prior notification procedure if you are converting agricultural building such as a barn.

Author: AC Architects

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