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Planning Permission Guide

Planning permission is the process of obtaining permission from your local authority to carry out building work on your property, and it comes in a range of shapes and sizes.

The planning application process

Planning applications have a straightforward journey to approval. Understanding where you are in that process helps you know what responses you can make…

1. Planning application is submitted to the local planning authority.

2. The application plans, forms, fee and associated documents are checked and validated.

3. Once validated a letter with the determination date is posted to the agent with case officer details and reference number.

4. The planning authority publicises the application, in the newspaper, on lamp posts, by letter to neighbours and perhaps elsewhere.

5. Other consultees are informed such as water board, highways etc.

6. The public has a few weeks to comment on the application.

7. Determination usually begins 2 weeks before the decisions date once all comments are in.

8. The decision will be issued typically 8 weeks from validation.

What is permitted development?

Most houses in the UK have certain types of build work that can be carried out without the need for full planning permission, and this is classed as permitted development. Flats and maisonettes don’t typically share these rights, but for houses that are eligible, the permitted development rights typically cover things like small extensions, loft conversions, and garage or cellar conversions too. You would also need to apply for full planning permission in conservation areas, national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.

So what type of work can you carry out under permitted development?


  • Extend your property by 4m to the rear with a single storey extension or 3m with a double extension. Height and rear boundary restrictions apply (this is currently under review by the government, who have suggested doubling these limits).
  • The extension must not cover more than half of the garden or go forward of the building line of the original building.
  • It must be built in the same or similar material to the existing property
  • Side extensions are permitted but subject to height and width restrictions.

Loft Conversions

  • The loft can be converted to living accommodation.
  • The roof can be extended by up to 40m-cubed for terraces or 50m-cubed for semi-detached and detached properties.
  • Dormers and roof windows can be added but must not extend beyond the plane of the roof slope at the front of the house.
  • Side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed.

Do I need planning permission?

You will need planning permission if you want to build a new structure, make a major change to an existing structure, or change the use of a building.

Most planning applications are approved. But if the application is refused, or the approval has conditions on it, the applicant may appeal against the decision to the Secretary of State. If you have only heard about a development you’re concerned about after a planning application has been submitted, don’t delay in getting involved.

If you want to find out if you require Planning Permission then send us your details.

Still have a few questions?

Speak to our friendly team today