General Planning Permission Advice
Previous - Specific Planning Permission
For most home improvement work, planning permission is not required although changing the external appearance of your house in a conservation area, national park or area of outstanding natural beauty could be an exception.
If you are uncertain about your position, contact your local planning office and ask their advice. Explain your problem and they will advise you on the best way forward and this could save you money by taking the necessary action before incurring the expense of appointing someone to draw up plans for you.
After you send in the application forms and paid the fees, your application will be acknowledged and place on the Planning Register so that it can be inspected by members of the public. They will also notify your neighbours in certain circumstances and may place a notice in the local newspapers.
Your application will either be handled by a planning officer in the department or will be sent to the planning committee for consideration. In either case, your application will be judged on its merits. You should receive a decision within eight weeks but you will be notified if it will take longer.
Refused Planning Permission?
If your application is refused or is subject to conditions, you should talk to members of the planning office to seek the best way forward. You are entitled to a second application without charge if you apply within twelve months of the decision made on the first application.
If you think that the decision is unreasonable, you are entitled to appeal to the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. This appeal must be made within six months of the council's decision and you can also appeal if the council do not decide on your application with eight weeks.
If you wish to know about the appeals procedure you should write to:
Customer Support Unit,
Temple Quay House,
2 The Square,
Ask for two free booklets, ‘Making Your Planning Appeal' and ‘Guide to taking part in planning appeals' There is a Customer Support Line (0117 372 6372) and you could also visit the planning portal website for more details. Making an appeal should be treated as a last resort because it can take several months to reach a decision. It is far better to maintain good relation with your local council and try and solve any problems in consultation with them.
The fee for planning permission for alterations and/or extensions to a single dwelling house including garages, fences and walls is £150 in all parts of UK. VAT does not apply to planning permission fees.
Planning Permission and Party walls
If you intend to carry out work that is covered by one of the following categories you must find out whether the work comes under The Party Wall Act 1996:
• work on a shared wall or structure shared with another property
• building a free-standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property
• excavating near a neighbouring building.
Dealing with party wall matters can be quite complicated and you may need professional advice. Start by studying a booklet called The Party Wall Act from your local planning office. It is free and published by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
Next - Building Materials for your house extension