Do I Need Planning Permission
Do I need Planning Permission?
In the current economic climate, if you've decided not to move house but to stay put and carry out extensive improvements to the outside of your house, or perhaps to be able to run your business from home, the chances are that you will require planning permission.
You may not know this but in law, all building work and changes to the primary activities within any building is considered ‘development’ (legalese) and requires planning permission. However, certain types of development, depending on size, where it is located within your property or the extent of the use or activity, is considered under the law to be Permitted Development, and benefits from what we town planners call deemed consent. In such cases a planning application is not required.
If you are planning any improvements to your house, anything from a new garden shed to a two-storey side extension, it’s worth getting planning advice. In the vast majority of cases you probably won’t need to make a planning application because of your permitted development rights.
Life gets more complicated however if you live in a Conservation Area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a National Park or the Broads, or your home is a Listed Building. In these locations planning control will be far more restrictive and your local council more stringent. Even general maintenance such as felling a tree that is blocking light, or changing your windows to UPVC, may need a planning application. This is because the council may have removed your rights to permitted development by means of what’s called an Article 4 Direction.
So, whilst a move to the country is a great idea, often to be viable you may want to make adaptations to your house. Make sure you seek some planning advice so that you are aware of what you can and cannot do.
Seeking advice is easy. There are lots of places where you can go to get information and answers to the two fundamental questions: do I need planning permission, and if so how do I apply for it?
In both cases, your first port of call should be your Local Planning Authority (LPA). They are based at your Local Council offices. For clarity, these are the people to whom you pay your Council Tax, not the County Council or Parish Council, although these people may have some influence on the outcome of your application. Depending on where you live your LPA will be based within your District Borough Council or Metropolitan Borough Council.
Alternatively, there is lots of information on the internet. All council web sites provide extensive information about what constitutes development requiring planning permission, and most importantly how to make a planning application. They are an absolutely vital resource, and having spent most of my days searching them for my clients, I know they are generally well put together and very informative.
Even the Government has set up a website dedicated to providing information about the planning process. Their web site is called the Planning Portal. It even contains an interactive model house describing all forms of development to a home that will require planning permission. Everything from the size of satellite dishes needing planning permission, to how to introduce energy saving features to your home without needing to make a planning application.
We’re all feeling the pinch and looking for ways to save cash without compromising our quality of life. Adaptations to our homes are a natural place to invest what spare capital might be available. It may be that your family is growing and you require more space; or you want better entertainment via a satellite dish; or you’d like to make your home more energy efficient by means of a wind turbine or solar panels; or that business start-up idea is infinitely more viable if based at home. All of these may have planning implications and may require planning permission.
Take it from me, it’s best to find out.
Peter Morgan of PGM Planning Solutions