Do You Need Planning Permission or Building Regulations Approval?
Not all improvements to your home will require planning permission or building regulations approval. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 sets out the types of work you can undertake on your home which either do not require planning permission, referred to as ‘Permitted Development’, or only require ‘prior notification’ (see below).
Before embarking on your project you may wish to contact your Councils Planning Service to find out whether your project will require planning permission, this may be something you can do yourself or you may wish to engage the services of an agent, such as an Architect or Building Surveyor. At this pre-application stage you should seek to establish whether there are any designations affecting your property which could affect whether or not planning permission is required – these include:
The property is subject to an Article 4 direction removing certain permitted development rights
The property is situated in a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Area
The building is listed as being of Special Architectural or Historic InterestSeeking pre-application advice from the Council may incur a fee and you may also be asked to provide some details of the design, size and position of any extension proposed, these need not be worked up to the level required for planning applications.
In seeking pre-application advice on your proposal you may also receive an informal opinion from the planning officer as to whether it is in accord with the Councils planning policies contained in its Development Plan, this advice can cover issues such as design, materials and scale. Sometimes the planning officer might suggest how you can change your proposals so that they are more likely to be approved. However it is important to note this advice is not a firm commitment that planning permission will be forthcoming as it does not involve any consultations of interested parties or notification of neighbours.
Before embarking on your project you may also wish to discuss your ideas with neighbours as they are likely to be informed once an application is submitted to the Council. Earlier dialogue with both the Planning Authority and your neighbours may save both unnecessary work and delays if either the planning officer or neighbours raise concerns over the planning application.
In some instances there may be a covenant on the land or building which restricts its future use. Covenants cannot be disregarded or removed unless this is done by agreement, discharged by the Lands Tribunal or the land comes into single ownership. This is a separate legal regime to planning. The existence of any planning permission does not remove this legal issue, and in some cases a planning permission may not be capable of being implemented without the removal of the covenant.