Guide to planning permission pic

If you need more space at home, but don’t want to move to a different location, adding to your existing property could be the answer. Extending up into the loft or out into the garden can give you the space you need, but you have to ensure it complies with current planning regulations. Getting permission takes time, money and patience – here is what you need to know.


  • Are all applications granted?

No, there is always the chance that permission may not be granted. Speaking to your local authority planning department at the very beginning of the process is a good idea. They can tell you whether or not your application is likely to be approved, and what steps you can take to improve your chances of success.


  • Does every renovation project need planning permission?

No, it all depends on the size of your project. Smaller additions that don’t significantly increase your home’s footprint may be allowable without involving your local authority.


  • By how much can I extend my house without applying for permission?

Specifically, there are three main rules to remember:

  • the extension should not increase the original floor area of the house by over 40 square metres
  • the extension should not reduce the open space at the back of the house to less than 25 metres squared
  • the extension should not be higher than the house itself


  • What if my has house been extended before?

In this situation other rules come into play. If the total NEW floor space, combined with that of the OLD extension, exceeds 40 square metres in total, you will need to apply for planning.


  • Can I add a new porch?

Yes, you won’t need planning permission provided you stay within certain size regulations. It must be under two square metres and a minimum of two metres from the road, pavement or footpath. In terms of height, a pitched roof should be under four metres, and other roof types should be under three.


  • Can I convert underused spaces?

Transforming garages and lofts into living spaces usually falls within permitted development, meaning you shouldn’t need permission. However, if you choose dormer rather than Velux windows in the roof, you may need to apply for permission.


  • How do I apply?

Speak to your local authority’s planning department for advice and to ensure you have all your paperwork in place. The process takes about eight weeks until a decision is made, and if you have supplied all the necessary information you will have a better chance of getting approval the first time round.

Simply put, the process is this:

  1. Place a public notice of your proposals, in the local newspaper and a notice up on the site itself in place for at least five weeks.
  2. Complete a planning application form and submit it to your local authority. 
  3. Pay the application fee – the amount varies depending on the project. 

If your application is approved, the local authority will issue a notice of intention to grant planning permission. This is followed by a four week period during which the decision can be appealed if someone objects to the project.

  1. What else do I need to bear in mind?

Even if you don’t need planning permission for a project, all work will need to meet the relevant building regulations. Energy ratings apply to cavity walls and windows, and fire regulations will need to be met.

  1. Should I let my insurer know?

It’s a good idea to let your insurance company know before you start any work, to keep them informed. Once work is completed you’ll want to give them the details to ensure any extensions or updates are covered by your policy. A great way to be confident you are not underinsured is to get your home insurance policy through a broker such as Britton Insurance.