5 Changes You Can Make Without Needing Planning Permission UK

If you live in a UK home and would like to alter any part of it, you would be well-advised to ask the local authority whether you need planning permission to do this. If you do turn out to need it, however, obtaining it would take you at least eight weeks, as Homebuilding & Renovating warns.  

Fortunately, many small-scale improvements to UK homes fall under something called permitted development (PD) – meaning that planning permission isn’t required. Here are just some examples of projects that – subject to certain limitations – fall into this category… 

Building a garden room

Under PD, you are allowed to assemble external buildings detached from your main house as long as these additions are made in a rear or side garden rather than a front garden. 

Furthermore, you would only be permitted one storey for your garden room – and its footprint must not surpass over 50% of the land surrounding your dwelling, as the Homes & Gardens website cautions.

Converting a loft

If you have an exciting idea for how to convert your loft and know that acting on this idea would not leave the loft with more than 40 square metres of cubic content, good news: you are likely able to undertake all of this loft conversion work without planning permission. 

You won’t even need planning permission to have the loft boarded if this will be to create storage space up there. Many UK households can easily arrange loft boarding from Instaloft

Adding, replacing or moving a window

Typically, you won’t require planning permission in order to do any of these things with a window – but you should carefully watch out for exceptions to the rule.  

For example, if your home is a listed building, you might only be able to replace its windows with like-for-like units. Meanwhile, planning permission could easily be required if you are eager to add a new window to any upper storey of your residential property’s side elevation.   

Building an extension

A single-storey extension is possible without planning permission, provided the new structure will meet a number of specific conditions. This includes that the extension will use similar materials to the rest of the house and not sit forward of its principal elevation. 

If you are intent on building a rear extension, you won’t be able to make it any deeper than four metres on a detached house or three metres on a semi-detached or terraced house. Side extensions are out of the question on Article 1(5) Land, like Conservation Areas. 

Adding rooflights

Rooflights would be allowed under PD on the condition that they won’t project further than 15 centimetres from your roof’s slope.

However, if these rooflights would protrude beyond the roof plane on an elevation fronting a highway, you must formally apply for – and obtain – planning permission before adding these features to your dwelling. 

Keep in mind that PD rights would also not permit you to add rooflights to a dwelling sited in either a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 

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