Your guide to planning permission

If you have never carried out a renovation project, planning permission can fill you with apprehension. Here is our simple guide to planning permission which will help guide you through the process.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is granted permission to carry out work to your property. It is your local planning authority who will grant you approval.

When do I need to get planning permission?

You normally need to get planning permission if you are carrying out the following:

  • Make a major change to a building
  • Building something new
  • Changing the use of a building

Some projects don’t require planning permission and fall under permitted development.

What can I do under permitted development?

There are many types of development that are within permitted development, normally those that are deemed to have no impact on your neighbours and the environment around you. Some examples may include:

  • Single storey extension of up to 6 metres for an attached property and 8 metres for a detached
  • Two storey extension of up to 3 metres
  • Most velux and dormer loft conversions of less than 40 cubic metres for an attached and 50 cubic metres for a detached
  • Most garage conversions
  • New windows and doors
  • Internal re-modelling

Note that there are some circumstances that you will always need planning permission, such as if you live in a conservation area. Contact your local planning authority to confirm.

How do I get planning permission?

Before getting planning permission, it is recommended to meet a planning officer for an informal meeting. Some local planning authorities will charge a fee for this service. This will help with the process and help you modify plans before you submit.

You can apply for planning permission either online at the planning portal or in the post. You can also appoint a third party, such as your architect, to apply on your behalf for a fee.

What if I don’t get planning permission and go ahead with the work?

You can be served an enforcement notice which may require you to undo the work that you have done.

Note that altering a listed building without planning permission is a criminal offence.

How much does the planning permission application cost?

The fee varies between location and the nature of the application. In England, the fee for an alternation or extension is £172 and full application for a new home is £385. The fees vary slightly in Scotland, Ireland and Wales but are within the same cost bracket.

You will also incur additional cost if you architect or structural engineer submits the plans on your behalf.

What if my planning permission is rejected?

If your plan is rejected then you should try to work with your local planning authority for approval by modifying your plans. If your application is still rejected then you can appeal.

How long does it take to get planning permission?

It usually takes around 8 weeks to be granted planning permission. There is a maximum limit of 13 weeks.

How long does planning permission last for?

Planning permission lasts around 3 years from the date of approval. You will need to submit the plans again if you take longer than this.

Can I change my plans?

You are able to make minor amendments for a small fee. Any significant changes will need to be re-submitted for planning permission.

What other permissions will I require?

Depending on your type of property and the work you are carrying out you may need to get approval from your neighbours under the Party Wall Act. This is only applicable in England and Wales and most likely in semi-detached or terraced homes.

You must always comply with building regulations even if you don’t need planning permission.