Simple Guidance

Some Simple Guidance…

Not all extensions and conversions require a planning application. Please see the following extracts, (click here), from the governments planning portal for some simple guidance to the allowances that your property may be allowed, without the need for planning consent. If you need further clarification please do not hesitate to contact us.

A planning application is not required in each and every case. To determine if a residential extension requires a planning application or not certain criteria needs to be met and this criteria is normally on each Councils website or located on the Governments planning portal. But a simple telephone call to my offices could give you the answers you require.

Some developments have their permitted rights taken away and planning is required for everything, and in such cases a planning fee to the council is waved. Sometimes on new development the developer gets a covenant that normaily lasts for 10 years where they require a say in what you propose to do to the house whether planning is required or not and is ought to be noted in the deeds top the property when you buy.

Conservatories come under the same category as extensions. If the conservatory does not exceed 30 square metres and externally graded doors lead into it, it may not need building control consent but this does not mean it should not have sufficient foundation with regards to soil conditions and the close proximity of trees should be taken into account.

Please note that most councils have their policies and guidelines on line for anyone to view. In any event I advise everyone to apply for a certificate of lawful development if we feel that the project does not need a planning application just to play safe as these new rules are still being deciphered by local planning officers and some are making their own interpretation of them.


Most main sewers belong to the local authority that the building regulation application is being made to but in some areas the main sewers can belongto either Anglian Water or Thames Water in which case an application must be made to the owner for permission to build within 3M of the sewer or over it. This is not brought to my attention with a planning application but with a building regulation application which means an application can be approved under planning but if the relevant water authority do not approved it then it cannot go ahead. In most cases there is not a problem.


Just a quick word on loft conversions. If your property is timber framed then it is highly likely that the existing timber framework will not support the new floor and its beams. I have managed to get approval on some lofts built of timber frame but this does not mean all can be approved. Each one is dealt on its own merit. Properties built out of traditional brick or block work are no problem. Properties with trussed roofs are also no problem to deal with.

Partywall Act

The party Wall Act 1996 says that anyone building within 3M (sometimes 6M) of someone else’s property must obtain their consent to proceed with the work. Or in the case of a loft conversion any work on the party wall requires the same. This does not mean that you can be stopped from undertaking the work once you have the relevant permissions it is merely a precaution your neighbour may wish to undertake. Details of the Act can be found online.

Building Regulations

If you want to put up small detached buildings such as a garden shed or summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres. If the floor area of the building is between 15 square metres and 30 square metres, you will not normally be required to apply for building regulations approval providing that the building is either at least one metre from any boundary or it is constructed of substantially non-combustible materials. In both cases, building regulations do not apply ONLY if the building does not contain any sleeping’ accommodation.