In 2008, the coalition government introduced new rules with regards to planning permission for home extensions. The focus behind the idea is to remove 80,000 home owners from the planning system each year although not everybody qualifies.
Under the terms of “Permitted Development,” householders can avoid red tape that can delay the building process for months. However, there are still rules you need to be aware of to determine whether you will need consent to convert your loft space.
It should also be noted that local councils have the authority to vary the rules to meet with conditions of specific areas. For example, roof extensions are not permitted in areas of outstanding natural beauty, National Parks or Broads, Conservation Areas, Listed Buildings or World Heritage Sites.
Who can build a loft conversion without planning permission?
You can start work on your loft conversion without planning permission from the local council if your attic space and building plans meet specific regulations, namely:
Your roof does not extend more than 40 cubic metres in a terraced house, or 50m for a semi-detached property
The highest part of the extension is not higher than the original roof
The building materials match the original structure
The extension does not include balconies, raised platforms or verandas
Side facing windows are obscure-glazed and open at least 1.7 metres above floor level
the extension is set back at least 20 centimetres from the original roof eaves (unless you are having a hip to gable extension)
The extension is does not exceed the plane of the existing roof slope if the property is facing a highway
If your property meets with the above regulations you do not need to apply for planning permission – although it is sometimes worth checking with your local council to be on the safe side. A loft conversion specialist or architect can help you with this.
To apply for planning permission in England, the fee is £150 and will typically take around eight weeks before you receive a response.
If you live in a terrace house or semi-detached property, you have an obligation to inform neighbours that may be effected by the building work. The legal term for this is a ‘party wall’ and gives your neighbour the right to say what hours of the day work can be carried out on your loft extension. It also protects you in the event of any damage to your neighbour’s property.
If you do not seek party wall permission from your neighbours and they take action against you, it could result in hefty legal fees and a delay to your project. Providing your loft space meets the planning permission regulations, your neighbours cannot prevent you from forging ahead with your extension plans, but it could severe the relationship with your neighbour and cause animosity.
For more details about the planning permissions and legal responsibilities you can visit the .gov portal for loft conversions or contact us for advice.
City Lofts London – award-winning builders
0845 519 4321
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