UK Planning Permission Guide

Make sure you don’t get on the wrong side of the law by checking out our planning permission guide before work on your latest home improvement project gets underway.

planning permission guide

When is Planning Permission Required?

Since the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 the UK government gave local authorities increased powers to decide upon planning rules themselves; however, one of the main consequences of this order was that many home improvement projects and construction work that would have previously required planning permission has been instead classified as a ‘permitted development’ i.e. an extension or new build that doesn’t require planning permission.

These ‘permitted developments’ often include common changes or additions to family homes such as installing new extensions or conservatories; installing a new porch or altering the roof; replacing gates and fences; adding decking or a new patio to your garden; replacing old door and windows; or carrying out a basic basement or attic conversion. Nevertheless, there are times when these projects might require planning permission for other reasons, and it is important to note that planning permission might be required when…

    • Your proposed project is taking place in the boundaries of a designated National Park, conservation area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
    • The work is taking place on or adjacent to a Listed Building.
    • The work leaves the exterior of the property looking out of place or not in keeping with the characteristics of the local environment or area.
    • You are carrying out construction work that may affect the existing boundary or position of a Party Wall.
    • The extension or new build exceeds height and/or boundary limitations for the particular project in question.

Rules about when UK planning permission is required change according to the nature of your project and the rules outlined by your local council, so make sure you double-check planning regulations in advance to see whether or not your improvement work requires permission before getting started on the actual construction or refurbishment itself.

How to get Planning Permission

So if it turns out you do need planning permission, how do you go about obtaining it? Well, planning permission is always the responsibility of the homeowner, so that means it is up to you to process the application in full and await a response before getting started on your improvement project.

In most cases, planning permission is issued by your local planning authority, which is usually run by or affiliated directly with your local council; to them you need to submit paper or online form detailing the nature of your plans, including any blueprints and/or projected measurements you already have to hand. You will then usually have to wait for a period of between 2-3 weeks before hearing a final response; and if successful, you will then have to pay the appropriate planning fees. Costs vary depending on the nature of the project, but a Householder Application for a Single Dwelling (usually covering alterations and/or extensions within the boundary of your home) is set at £172 per application.

Unsuccessful Applications

If your planning application proves unsuccessful, or the application itself has been delayed, the relevant authority must give a written reason or response to your original form detailing why the extension or alteration cannot go ahead. You then have six months from the date of the refusal letter to lodge an appeal against the decision.

Nevertheless appeals are usually costly and can take months to determine, and home-owners usually having more luck lodging a modified application within 12 months of the original refusal instead. Whatever you decide, just don’t start working on your project until the planning permission is granted and all costs are covered – that way you know you can realise your dream extension or refurbishment exactly how you like!