Planning permission

Planning Permission for Specific Building Work

Previous - Building Regulations

Planners often receive a bad press but this is because we only hear about them when something goes wrong. Most of the responsibility for planning matters has been handed down from central government to local planning authorities operating within local government. Planners carry out their duties for the good of the whole community and, even a cursory inspection of some of the housing development that took place in the 1930s, will show what an important role they play today. There are various appeals procedures in place if you are unhappy with any planning decision that affects you and, if they fail, you can always pursue the matter through the courts. The ideal situation, and it exists in many parts of the United Kingdom, is where planning authorities use their powers to protect the character of the area whilst allowing individuals sufficient freedom to alter and improve their own property.

If you have queries on planning matters you should telephone or call at your local planning office for information or advice. You will probably be surprised by the courtesy and help that you will be offered. Planners, however, cannot change the law, and although the Chief Planning Officer does have some discretionary powers, he usually acts for the common good when applying them. Alternatively, visit www.planningportal.gov.uk where the current planning rules (since 1 October 2008) are set out.

Examples of when you will need planning permission:

You do not need to apply for planning permission where the work is of a minor nature coming under the heading of ‘Permitted Development Rights.' These rights vary in different parts of the country and are more strict in conservation areas, national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty and other designated areas.

The following cover items some of the current planning requirements.

Planning Permission for Extensions, conservatories, loft conversions, dormer windows, verandas, enclosing existing balconies and roof alterations.

Planning Permission not needed

You do not need planning permission subject to the following limits and conditions (see the planning portal website for the full list):

• no more than half the area of land around the house would be covered by the extension
• no extension is forwards of the principal elevation is side elevation fronting a highway
• no extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof
• maximum depth of 3 metres for a one storey extension and 4 metres for a two storey extension
• maximum height of 4 metres for a one storey rear extension
• side extensions to be one storey with maximum height of 4 metres and width no more than half that of original house
• two storey extensions no closer than 7 metres to rear boundary
• materials to be similar in appearance to existing house
• no verandas, balconies or raised platforms
• upper floor, side facing windows to be obscure glazed.

You do not normally need planning permission to re-roof your house or insert skylights or roof lights but if you live in a ‘designated land' area, (national park or area of outstanding natural beauty), you will need permission to undertake work that will change the shape of your roof.

Planning Permission Needed when:

• the new work would be higher than the existing roof
• the dormer would extend beyond the plane of any existing roof slope facing a highway
• the roof extension would increase the volume of a terraced house by more than 40 cubic metres or 50 cubic metres for any other type of house.

Planning Permission for new buildings on your land such as garages, swimming pools, garden sheds, greenhouses and storage tanks

Under the new regulations that came into force on 1 October 2008, most of the above buildings do not require planning permission subject to the following conditions:

• no outbuildings on land forward of a wall forming the main elevation
• outbuildings or garages to be one storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of 4 metres for a dual pitched roof or 3 metres for any other roof
• maximum height of 2.5 metres within 2 metres of a boundary
• no verandas, balconies or raised platforms
• no more than half the area of land around the house would be covered by additions or other buildings.

In National Parks, The Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from the house to be limited to 12 square metres. On ‘designated land' (national park or area of outstanding natural beauty), buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission. Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.

Planning Permission for Fuel tanks

Under the new regulations that came into force on 1 October 2008, fuel tanks do not require planning permission subject to the following conditions:

• not more than 3,500 litres capacity
• not forward of the principal elevation fronting a highway
• maximum overall height of 3 metres
• maximum height 2.5 metres within 2 metres of boundary
• no more than half the area of land around the house would be covered by the tank

• in National Parks, The Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by tanks more than 20 metres from the house to be limited to 10 square metres
• not at the side of properties on ‘designated land' (national park or area of outstanding natural beauty
• within the curtilage of listed buildings will require planning permission.

Planning Permission for Porches

You will need planning permission to erect a porch:

• if the external ground area of the porch exceeds 3 square metres
• it is more than 3 metres high above ground level
• it would be within 2 metres from any boundary of the dwelling house and a highway.

Planning Permission for fences, walls and gates

You will need to apply for planning permission to erect or make alterations to a fence, wall or gate:

• it would be over 1 metre high and next to a highway used by vehicles (or the footpath of such a highway) or over 2 metres high elsewhere
• your right to put up or alter fences, walls and gates is removed by an article 4 direction or planning condition
• your house is a listed building or in the curtilage of a listed building
• the fence, wall or gate forms a boundary involved, forms a boundary with a neighbouring listed building or its curtilage.

Hedges and Planning Permission

You do not need planning permission to plant hedges or trees in most situations but there are exceptions such maintaining sight lines or where subject to restrictive covenants. Check with your local planning office if in doubt.

Planning Permission for patios, hard standings, paths and driveways

Building hard surfaces around your house does not require planning permission unless significant works of embankments or terracing are involved or the surface is to be used for the parking of commercial vehicles. You should consult your local highways department if you are proposing to build a drive crossing an existing path or verge and you may need planning permission if the drive provides access on to certain types of road.

Next - General Planning Permission



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