Planning Approvals

Town and Country Planning legislation
ecohomes + self build library








 Buying + Selling


Building Land






Building Regulations

 Planning Permission

 Party Walls





Housing in General

Planning & Listed Buildings

Apart from development falling within Permitted Development Rights, you will need to obtain Planning Permission before you can build -more on Permitted Development below.
As part of its Modernising Planning initiative the Government publishes a consolidated list of statements of national planning policy at the Communities and Local Government website. It includes details of Planning Policy Statements (PPS), Planning Policy Guidance notes (PPGs), Minerals Policy Guidance Notes (MPGs), Regional Planning Guidance Notes (RPGs), Departmental Circulars, Parliamentary Answers etc.

Planning: Changes to Permitted Development Rights

By Justin Burns of Peter Barry Chartered Surveyors & Party Wall Consultants.

Changes to the rules governing Permitted Development which came in to force on 1st October 2008 will make life easier for householders planning extensions or loft conversions. Around a quarter of the 330,000 planning applications that would have been submitted in the year ahead, a number that has increased steadily since prices started rising again in the mid 1990s, will now be removed from the workload of local planning departments under the new rules.

Permitted Development has been with us since 1995 but the clause which tied the size of any extension to the volume of the original property meant that a typical property could only build a small rear extension or dormer without the need for planning permission. Under the new rules the size of the original house is no longer a factor. As long as an extension falls within a set of clearly defined guidelines it will be classed as a Permitted Development.

The most significant of those guidelines are set out below:


o Single storey rear extensions to detached properties can be up to four metres deep and four metres high.

o For attached properties, and all extensions with two or more storeys, the maximum depth is reduced to three metres.

o Multi storey extensions should be no higher that the roofline of the existing property.

o Side extensions to be single storey only, no more than four metres high and no wider than half the width of the original property

In addition, the previous volume caps on rear and side extensions have been removed. If a proposed extension falls outside of these guidelines it will not necessarily be refused permission but a full planning application will be required.

Loft Conversions

o Volume caps remain in place for loft conversions; 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses falling to 40 cubic metres on terraced properties.

o Dormers will not be permitted to any roof plane fronting on to a highway

o No extension to be higher than the ridge line of the existing property

o Dormers to be set back from the eaves by a minimum of 20 cm.

The new guidelines do not make any specific reference to one of the previously controversial elements of a loft conversion; the raised gable end. As long as they comply with the other criteria raised gables will be permitted.

All of the measurements should be taken from the 'Original Property' which for the purposes of planning matters is taken to mean the property when it was first built or on 1st July 1948 if it was built prior to that date.

Further restrictions will remain for alterations to Listed Buildings and buildings within conservation areas. Local Authorities will still retain the right to alter the guidelines at a local level by issuing Development Notices or Article 4 Directions.

Building Regulation approval will still be required for all extensions and loft conversions and if the work falls within the scope of the Party Wall etc. Act 1996 there will be an obligation to serve notice on any affected neighbours.

Article written by Justin Burns MRICS of Peter Barry Chartered Surveyors & Party Wall Consultants.

Other useful Sources of Information:
Direct Gov -a huge portal to all government departments with general advice.
Planning Inspectorate -questions and answers plus a wide range of planning forms online.
Planning Portal -the government's online planning and building regulations resource, with information about applying for planning permission and building regulations consent, and appeals procedures.
Acts of Parliament available online from HMSO:
Town & Country Planning Act 1990.
Listed Buildings and Conservation Area Act 1990.


Search this site with Google:



theHousePlanner | construction | sustainability | gardening | property | contact

Featured books:

The Planning Game, How to Play the System and Win Planning Consent: An Insider's Guide to Planning Permission for Newbuilds and Extensions
Ken Dijksman
Ovolo Publishing
Price in UK pounds

How to Get Planning Permission
Roy Speer, Michael Dade
Stonepound Books
Price in UK pounds

Converting Garages, Attics & Basements
Jeff Beneke, Sunset (Editor), Marianne Lipanovich
Paperback - 192 pages 1st (August 2001)
Sunset Books Inc
Price in UK pounds
Price in dollars

in association with

more books on House Conversion