Planning and Permitted Development for Extensions

Plus Rooms employs a team of kitchen extension and loft conversion specialists. We handle every aspect of the design and build process, including technical guidance and applications for planning permission.

Permission for extending a residential property is provided by the local authority in which the property resides. There are two different ways in which approval can be sought, these are Planning Permission and Permitted Development. The appropriate type of permission will depend on the type of development that you wish to carry out, and the type of property which you intend to carry out the works to. Below is a brief outline of the differences between the two types of permission:

What is Permitted Development?

The term ‘permitted development’ describes a set of rights that entitles homeowners to extend their properties in certain ways (e.g. kitchen extensions and loft extensions) without applying for planning permission. In the United Kingdom, all houses (excluding flats) have permitted development rights. The only exceptions are houses that are either listed or located in conservation areas. Permitted development also does not apply to leasehold properties.

Providing that the scope of the extension meets the property’s specific criteria, owners are guaranteed approval for their extension. The below table shows the requirements for permitted development rights, based on the type of property.

Permitted Development for Extensions by Property Type

What is Prior Approval?

Prior Approval was a temporary scheme introduced by the Government in 2013, which doubled the depth that properties can be extended under Permitted Development. The scheme stipulates that approval for extensions and conversions can be gained providing that no immediate neighbours object to the proposal. If the owners of any neighbouring properties object to the proposal, the council will determine the application using a criteria that is similar to obtaining Planning Permission.

Planning Permission for Extensions

Householder planning permission is required for conversions and extensions that fall outside of the boundaries for permitted development. This will require an application to the local authority, who will then determine whether approval is granted.

While there are numerous factors in assessing a planning application, the key considerations will be the local authority’s planning policy and the local planning precedent. These can vary significantly across different boroughs and each application is decided on its own merits.

We will advise you on what we think is attainable, based on our experience within the local area. That being said, the planning permission process is rarely black and white. Therefore, we commit to working with local authorities to find the best solutions for all of our customers.

Party Wall Agreement for Loft Conversions and Extensions

If a loft conversion or extension requires cutting into a party wall or digging foundations within 3 metres of a neighbour’s property, a party wall notice must be served upon them. This gives neighbours the opportunity to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor, who will then draw up a formal Party Wall Award. This documents the condition of your neighbour’s property before any works are carried out, and will act as a point of reference in the event of any damages caused by the extension. Your neighbour can consent to the party wall notice, which would avoid the need for a formal award, but if an award is required you will be responsible for the costs to your and your neighbour’s surveyor. You must have signed a Consent Notice of a formal Party Wall Award in place before any works commence.

Extensions on Freehold Properties

If you own a share of freehold or you are a leasehold owner, you will need to obtain a License to Alter before any structural alterations can be carried out to your property. The specific process for this will be dependent on the provisions in your lease agreement. We therefore advise that you consult a solicitor on the matter as soon as possible. Generally speaking, freeholder consent cannot be unreasonably withheld, but the degree of complication will depend on the terms of the lease and the freeholder you are dealing with. Although you cannot obtain a License to Alter without plans and structural designs, we advise that homeowners investigate this matter before preparing any extension plans due to the length of the process as well as the associated costs.

Thames Water

If you are carrying out excavation work within 3 metres of a public sewer then you will require a Thames Water Build Over Agreement. This involves submitting the plans to Thames Water so that they can check the proposed construction is not going to have any adverse effect on the drain. Plus Rooms will handle the application on your behalf, but you will be responsible for Thames Water’s fee if a Build Over Agreement is required. We will carry out a drainage survey at your property, and will advise as to whether the existing drainage has any implications on the build. This will be done in advance of the work where access to the drains is available. If the drainage on your land only services your property, then the drains are considered to be private and no Build Over agreement will be required.