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Planning Permission

Planning Permission

Planning Permission can be a daunting area. This section will guide you through the various stages of the process. In most cases all stages have to be completed before any building work can begin.

Why Planning Permission ?

The System's main aim is to protect the public interest with regards to the local environment. Development by corporations and the public need to be allowed in some cases to ensure that towns prosper and grow. However, strict control of this development must be maintained to ensure that the character and amenity of the area is not adversely affected. Not all development needs planning permission - changes that do not affect the external appearance of a building do not require official permission. Also small changes to the outside of a building may not need permission. This ensures that house owners maintain a certain amount of freedom when making improvements to their property.

On 21 May 2007, the Government published the Planning White Paper, Planning for a Sustainable Future which aims to reform the planning system. These reforms will have an affect on the town and country planning system. There is a Consultation period from 21 May 2007 to 17 August 2007.

The Government's Conclusion to the Consultation is that it wants householders to be able to create additional living space in lofts so long as the extensions do not have an undue impact on neighbours and the wider street scene.

The New Rules For Loft Conversions and Planning Permission

The Government intends to retain the current volume approach, allowing a loft extension of 40 cubic metres for terraced houses and 50 cubic metres for semi-detached and detached houses. On the side of the house facing the street, only skylights lying flat on the roof are allowed. However, at the back, a dormer extension will be allowed, as long as it's no higher than the existing roof and is set back at least 0.2m from the eaves. This is to maintain the visual appearance of a roof line. These came into effect from 1 October 2008.

Further Information can be found on www.planningportal.gov.uk .

Before Starting on the Campaign

Before embarking on any form of conversion to your property speak to your neighbours. There are two main reasons for this: ensuring that disagreements do not occur between you and your neighbours with regards loss of light etc, and also to ensure that your neighbours are agreeable to any access that may be required via their property during the building works. If your planned extension does require planning permission, your neighbours will be informed by the council, and therefore it is advisable to give them prior notice.

Try looking at your local councils website, some of them are very informative. Please visit our Council Links page for links to all Local Council websites.

Do I Need Planning Permission

This will only be required if your loft conversion exceeds the specified limits and conditions stated above in the New Rules For Loft Conversions and Planning Permission.


The "Planning Application" page takes you through the process of applying for planning permission, what plans are needed, the council process and what to do if planning permission is refused.

Building Regulations

Building Regulations is an extra permission that you need that a lot of people don't actually know about. Have a look at the "Building Regulations" page to see exactly what they are and how to get permission.

Listed Buildings

People who live in Listed Buildings or in areas of conservation often need extra permissions before building an extension. If you are one of these people, click on the "Listed Buildings" section to find out more.

Use an Architect

If you are considering producing the building plans yourself, take a look at the "Use an Architect" page before embarking on the project. You may change your mind.

The views and information held within this site are intended only as a guide. Expert advice should be obtained before embarking on any large project. House Conversions Online are not responsible for information held on any pages external to this website.