Building extensions such as conservatories have become hugely popular in recent times. Not only is there a large range of conservatories available to suit almost any house and any needs, but adding value and space to a home is often seen as more time and money saving than moving. Given the popularity of extensions, various rules and laws have been put in place to ensure homeowners don’t get carried away and also to protect neighbour’s preferences and rights. These laws are prone to be amended and altered so it is always best to check with a local Planning Authority. Some conservatories do require planning permission whilst lots of others do not and it depends on a variety of factors such as the location of the household, the size of the extensions and height of the roof. Below is an outline as to the main considerations and features that may affect whether a conservatory will require planning permissions.
In general, within England and Wales, detached and semi-detached houses will not require planning permission if a few criteria are met. Typically, houses are allowed around 50 cubic metres of ‘permitted development’ extension. This figure varies depending on the specific area in which the property is situated. Some areas, for example, offer up to 70 cubic metres of permitted development. In Scotland, measurements are taken in a slightly different fashion and the proportional, as well as absolute, size of the extension is taken into consideration. The extension can typically be either up to a certain volume larger (e.g. 50 cubic metres), or up to an additional percentage of the house larger (e.g. 10%), whichever is bigger.
If the conservatory is within this boundary then planning permission is not needed. It ought to be kept in mind, however, that previous extensions still count towards this figure and if another extension has been made then that must be included into the overall extension measurements.
There are various exceptions to these standard rules and homeowners should check with their local planning authority to see whether their property falls into any of these categories. Listed building, conservation areas and houses which are situated close to public access routes such as bridleways or footpaths are some of the major examples. Furthermore, areas of outstanding natural beauty and homes in the Norfolk and Suffolk broads are also protected to some extent. In these cases, planning permission needs to be granted before planning can commence.
Specifically for conservatories, another range of criteria must be met for planning to be allowed without previously acquiring planning permission. These include the criteria that the extension cannot increase the height of the property’s roof. Also, the extension must be separated by a permanent door, no drainage facilities such as sinks or washing machines can be placed in the conservatory and the extension must be situated at ground level. Any radiator in the conservatory must be controllable via separate on/off controls and the roof must be completely transparent or translucent. The specifics of these rules tend to vary so it is always worth checking for any more recent amendments or alterations to any criteria.