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Can I Build an Extension Without Planning Permission?

As the old saying goes, how long is a piece of string? The answer is ‘it depends’. Whether you can build an extension without planning permission, depends on the type of property you have and the type of extension you want to build.

Let’s look at each of these individually.

The type of property 

Some properties have more flexibility than others when it comes to planning permission. Some property types are not permitted to have an extension at all. The latter refers to flats and maisonettes; these properties do not have development rights, so there’s no point even applying.

The same applies with any property that's already been extended or converted as the development rights have been used up.

Generally, most listed buildings cannot be converted although there are some exceptions, which should be checked. You can therefore apply for the correct permissions. Find out more here.

All other properties, unless located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, may be eligible for an extension. Following a list of approvals or objections from your neighbours, ultimately the decision is made by the local authority.

The type of extension 

The next thing to consider is the type of extension you want. Some extensions can be built without the need for any planning permission at all. This includes extensions that do not exceed 6 metres from the property being extended (8 metres for detached buildings)

Similarly, you don't need planning permission to build outhouses, conservatories or garages, as long as the building does not exceed a height of 4 metres.

Front extensions are generally not permitted so it's not going to be worth the hassle. Side extensions have their own rules. The structure must not face the road and they must not be more than 3 metres from the property.

Double extensions and those that exceed the ‘no-planning permission required’ restrictions must be applied for. We recommend doing your research and then getting to know your local planning department.

What if I build without planning permission?

You certainly wouldn’t be the first, but the comeback just isn’t worth it.

Building an extension or conversion without the required planning permission or adhering to building regulations could mean bad news. The local authority could request for you to return the property to its original state - at your expense. This information is picked up during land registry searches. In extreme cases you could be prosecuted in a Magistrates’ Court under section 36 of the 1984 Act.

Save yourself the time and money, and do it right first time round.

When building an extension, it’s always worth calling your local planning department or a local ARB registered architect for advice. Both will know the restrictions in your area and what planning permission you'll need for your project.

For more information on planning a single storey extension, get in touch with Bluelime Projects today.

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