How much can I do without planning permission?

Published on 4th June 2014
It can be difficult and perplexing to navigate UK planning regulations. While developing your home can be rewarding and comes with many benefits, working out what does and does not fall within current ‘permitted development rights’ has been known to induce headaches in the best of us.

The problem is that rules change and caveats are linked to almost all statements, with period properties, flats and those situated in Conservation Areas, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads, each having their own additional legislation.

Although it’s always wise to check with your council’s planning department before embarking upon a home renovation project, knowing a few basics facts can save you both time and money. If you’re planning on creating a structure with Apropos, we can happily take care of all the permits and paperwork on your behalf, but even still, it’s useful to know where you stand before you begin.

Permission-free Projects

  • Skylights – Providing that they do not protrude more than 150mm and are no higher than the highest part of the roof, skylights can be fitted without a permit.
  • Small extensions, including conservatories – Most small extensions are permissible, providing that they do not equal more than half the footprint of the ‘original’ building.
  • Painting and cladding – Unless you are situated in one of the restricted areas, you should be able to clad or paint your property without permission.
  • Loft and internal conversions – Providing you are not extending your roof space or living in a listed property, permission should not be required.

Plans That Need Permission

  • Large extensions – If your extension will be taller than your existing home or equal more than half its footprint, you will need to apply for planning permission.
  • Paving – If you intend to cover more than 5 square meters of your garden with a non-water permeable substance you will need to contact your council.
  • Fences, walls and gates – A permit will be required if you intend to erect a fence, wall or gate of more than one meter in height.

Grey Areas

  • Solar Panels – Although usually allowed without a permit, strict conditions and limitations are applicable to solar panel construction, so it is important to check with your local authority before installation.
  • Windows and doors You will not usually need permission to install new windows and doors if they are roughly the same size as the existing fittings. Bay windows will be treated as an extension however, and new large windows overlooking a neighbour’s property may need a permit. Dormer windows are also dependent on a number of factors, so seek advice before construction.

This list provides just a short guide, for more in depth information please visit the UK Government’s Planning Portal or give our friendly customer services team a call on 0161 342 8265. 

If you have all the information you need and you’d like to get started on your home improvement with Apropos then please book a design consultation with one of our experienced designers here. 


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