Planning Permission Explained

15/08/2018

If you intend to carry out home improvements on your property, you will need to be aware of the differences between planning permission and permitted development, as it may be the case that you need to comply with these building regulations, though it may not always be the case.

Property owners therefore should have a full understanding of both of these regulations, as if turns out you need to get approval before carrying out alterations and haven’t got it (or you are declined and still go ahead), you may end up having to pay a considerable amount of money, especially if you have to replace or get rid of the building work completed. Furthermore, if you have secured a second charge mortgage to fund the property’s refurbishment, Planning Permission may be the determining factor.

In order to avoid this happening and in the case of the refurbishments, to ensure the improvements to your property can proceed, understanding the details of how planning permission and permitted developments work are crucial.

What is Planning Permission?

Depending on the work that you intend to carry out, you may need to get permission from your local council or local planning authority before you are legally permitted to carry out qualifying building works. It is important to note that not all works will need planning permission, but if they do, you will need to make sure you have this formally approved.

If you do not ensure that planning permission is in place when it is required, there are a number of potential consequences. One consequence includes being served an enforcement notice if you do not make sure the building works are compliant. You may even be asked by the local planning authority to undo any changes you have made or make alterations to them, which will be at your own expense.

If you decide to ignore notices that you receive from the local planning authority, you may in fact end up receiving a court notice, which could end up landing you with a larger fine.

When is Planning Permission Needed?

Although all cases of Planning Permission are judged on a case by case basis, there are scenarios where it is almost generically required. You are likely to need planning permission in circumstances including:

●      If you intend to build a new property

●      If you change the intended use of the building (e.g. from commercial to residential or vice versa)

●      If the project is intended to help the local community; in these cases, you will need to contact the Neighbourhood Planning Authority and Community Right to Build

●      If the project that you are undertaking does not affect the local environment at all

●      If you want to build a simple extension

How Do I Know if I Need to Get Planning Permission?

It is better to be safe than sorry and so, before carrying out any major home improvements, it is worth contacting your local planning authority (LPA), as they will be able to confirm whether you need planning permission or if the project is considered a permitted development. If you are carrying out alterations in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you need to remember that there are slightly different processes in place, so you will need to check with the local authorities in these areas.

If you still are unsure as to whether the building works you intend to carry out fall under planning permission or permitted development, you could apply for a certificate of lawful development. It may be worth getting regardless if you are intending to then sell the property in the not too distant future.

How do I Apply for Planning Permission?

If it has been confirmed that you need to obtain planning permission before going ahead with alterations, this can be done easily online. You will need to fill in online an application form on the Planning Portal website.

What Should Be Included in a Planning Permission Application?

When you make a planning permission application, there are a number of things you will need to include in order to be eligible for approval for your intended works. For example, you will need to provide detailed, scaled plans of your proposal, as well as providing a location plan on an ordnance survey map.

Fees Required

You will need to pay a fee in order to submit a planning permission application. The exact amount will depend on the scale of the building project and what category it falls into. If it is for a new build, the cost of making an application will be £385, whereas if for a residential extension, it will cost £195. The fees also vary if you are undertaking a renovation project in Wales and you will need to consult the LPA in that area for full details of fees.

What is a Permitted Development?

Not all home improvements will require planning permission from your local authority. This is the case when the kind of work you are undertaking falls under the scope of being a permitted development. This is when you have the right to make alterations to your home without getting planning permission. Commonly utilised examples of this routinely include:

●      Conversions

●      Works upon certain kinds of premises or industrial houses

●      Outdoor signs or advertisements (but there are certain restrictions that are in place, to see these in full, you should consult the GOV.UK website)

●      Minor property extension

As a mortgage is secured against your home, it could be repossessed if you do not keep up the mortgage repayments. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home.

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