Planning Permission

A Basic Guide on UK Planning Permission Rules

You had been thinking that the value of your home could be increased if you added in that nice conservatory.  It will not only benefit the value of your home, but might also make living there more special.  You imagine yourself reading the paper in the conservatory couch on a lazy Sunday morning, or having a cup of tea and biscuits there in the afternoons and playing games with the children in the conservatory. 

Or maybe you have just acquired a piece of land where you intend to build your house from scratch.  You take a look at it and can already see how big it would be, what the front will look like and how many rooms you plan to have in it.  It would certainly be better than renting a crappy apartment, right?

With either of the above situations, you will have to first consider if you need any planning permission before you begin any building.  If you follow the local council guidelines properly, you will avoid any issues that could arise in the future.

Do you need Planning Permission in the first place?

Many homeowners get quite confused if they actually need to get planning permission if they intend to do home improvements.  When do you need to get one, exactly? 

As a general rule, you will most likely need to get planning permission if you intend to put up a new building in a site which already has an existing one.  If you have a piece of land and you wish to change is purpose, like turning your farm into a garden, then you might also need to get planning permission for that.  In any case, you can get free advice from your local council whether you will actually need it or not.

If you are planning to build an extension, you will need to get permission if:

If you are planning to build a loft conversion, you will need to get permission if:

Normally, you will not need any planning permission if you plan to build the following:

However, you may still need to get planning permission for the above structures if:

If you do not believe you need to get planning permission, you can also request for a formal decision.  Unfortunately, this requires payment as it will involve issuing what is called a "lawful development certificate."  You can either apply for planning permission if the council refuses to issue the certificate.  You can also appeal to the Secretary of State, as they have been known to over-rule the council on issues like these.

Purchasing land with planning consent

If the piece of land you are eyeing has already acquired planning consent, then it will most likely to be more expensive than one that does not.  This is because you will have a written guarantee of planning permission.  All you need to do is to start work within the time period given, which is usually a maximum of five years from the date of issue.

It is more practical, therefore, to go for land that does not have any planning permission at the time of purchase.  However, you need to consider the following factors for a succesful future planning permission application:

Getting planning permission

When you submit the outlines of your project to the Planning Department, this is called the Outline Planning Permission (OPP) stage.  This basically means that the department is aware of what you intend to build in your property.

During the DPP or the Detailed Planning Permission stage, this is when the Planning department discusses the details of your project in depth.  The basis of the final decision depends on the building dimensions, your plans and building materials. 


It is recommended that you go acquire the OPP first, rather than going straight for the DPP, as this will save you a lot in extra costs just in case your plans need to be re-drawn.