Your guide - 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 to 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, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a flat or a maisonette. Contact your local planning authority to confirm.

How do I get planning permission?

For a fee (which varies depending on council), your local council will offer pre-application advice which will give feedback on what you can or can’t get planning permission for and on changes to you may wish to make. This is invaluable and highly recommended if your plans are not straightforward.

You can apply for planning permission online at the planning portal. It is also common to ask 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.

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 £206 and full application for a new home is £462. The fees vary slightly in Scotland, Ireland and Wales but are within the same cost bracket.

You will also incur additional costs if your architect 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, however it's worth noting that many appeals are unsuccessful, so resubmitting your plans with recommended changes is often the best route.

How long does it take to get planning permission?

It should take no more than 8 weeks to be granted planning permission. There is a maximum limit of 13 weeks in England for large, complex projects.

How long does planning permission last for?

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

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 (only applicable in England and Wales). Check out our article expert advice - party wall act if you need some more information.

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

Published: August 1, 2018

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