September 14, 2020Property News, Sales

Grand plans for your new property?

If you’ve found an almost-ideal property but want to consider an extension or remodel, it’s definitely worth doing your research before putting in that offer.

In some cases, you may be able to carry out renovations under permitted development but certain building work will require you to apply for planning permission with your local authority, and that’s a whole other ball game.

In this mini guide, we look at the differences between permitted development and planning permission when it comes to altering a residential property.

What is Permitted development?

Permitted development grants rights to property owners that allow for certain changes without the need for planning permission. They often present a speedy and painless opportunity for homeowners and investors to maximise the potential of a property and the freehold land it sits on.

The type of work you can carry out might include:

  • Building a porch
  • Interior remodelling
  • Erecting conservatories or outbuildings
  • Converting an integral or attached garage
  • Loft conversions
  • Adding a single-storey extension to the side or rear
  • Adding a two-storey extension

Permitted development is not a given, however, and there are caveats. Firstly, permitted development only applies to unlisted houses outside of ‘designated areas’. Secondly, there are lifetime volume and size limitations to the works listed above that have been in place since 1948 – you have to check if any, part or all of your allowance may have already been used by a previous owner. These depend on the type of house, and concern the overall use of land area, as well as proximity to boundaries. Thirdly, there may be restrictive covenants in place that impact permitted development rights.

Even when working within permitted development rights, you might still have to submit a prior notification and in any instance, it’s always a good idea to check with your local authority that permitted development applies and obtain a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC).

To account for the lack of home building over the last few years, many changes have been made to permitted development rights, including the ability to change the use from commercial to residential for example. The latest amendment in 2020 will allow for many purpose-built blocks of flats to be extended by up to two storeys to create bigger or more homes.

What work requires planning permission?

Planning permission will be needed with larger property extensions, rebuilds and circumstances where permitted development rights are removed or allowances used.

You’ll need consent from your local authority prior to starting any works. Not doing so could lead to you requiring planning permission retrospectively and if not approved, you could be forced to take the property back to its previous state.

Home improvements that usually need planning permission include:

  • Building or demolishing and rebuilding a new property
  • Extending to the front
  • Installing verandas, balconies or raised platforms above 300mm from the floor
  • Splitting your property into more than one dwelling
  • Converting a stand-alone outbuilding, such as garage, into a dwelling
  • Adjusting an officially designated building
  • Alterations to a listed building
  • Fitting bay windows

How to apply for planning permission

Applying for planning permission can be a lengthy and often stressful process, especially if it’s your first time. According to the HomeOwners Alliance, 27% of homeowners said planning permission is a major obstacle in completing home renovations.

Take these steps to alleviate some of the stress and increase your chances of approval:

  1. Do your research – Consider the alterations you are planning and see if any properties in your street have done anything similar. Go through the Planning Portal to check whether you will require planning permission.
  2. Understand the costs – Planning application fees start at around £200 for an extension but realistically, be prepared to fork out at least £2,000 once you take planning and design fees into account. If your project is a more complex one, you may want to call your local planning authority to set up an informal meeting (which may be charged) or you could consider applying for outline planning permission, which requires less detail but will give you an indication of approval.
  3. Get professional plans drawn up – Reputable planning consultants and architects should know what they are doing, helping you produce designs, technical drawings and site plans.
  4. Compile supporting documents – You should also obtain location plans that you may have to purchase, an ownership certificate, details of any previous work carried out on the property, agricultural holding certificate, and a design and access statement.
  5. Check any local authority specific requirements – Throughout the online application, ensure you have understood any local planning requirements that could be in addition to national requirements.
  6. Make sure you are sure – From the date of submission, it should take no longer than eight weeks to get a decision but alterations to plans could mean you have to start the process again, which is very common. So be confident your plans are thoroughly thought through.
  7. Calculate and pay the correct fee – When applying online, you need to pay the right fee or your application could be delayed.
  8. Get to work – If approved, ensure you start work within three years from the date of approval, unless your permission says, otherwise or it could expire (read up on the special extensions granted due to Covid-19). If rejected, which 25% of planning requests are in England, either deal with the issues raised and resubmit or appeal – 40% of homeowner applications are later granted.  

We sell properties that are ripe for remodelling, refurbishing and extending. If you are keen to purchase a ‘project’ rather than a finished home, contact us today for a list of available properties with potential.

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