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5 Home Improvements You Can Make Without Planning Permission

With Hartley's

With house prices soaring, the UK is seeing an increase in the number of people making improvements to their homes rather than relocating. It’s a common misconception that adding extra space to a house will necessarily be troublesome due to restrictive red tape and lengthy planning permission applications.

If you are looking to update or upgrade your property, you’ll be pleased to know that there are a number of ways you may be able to add space and value without seeking permission from the powers that be. It’s wise to double check with your local authority beforehand, but many renovations will fall under permitted development rights. Here are five of our favourite home improvements that may not require planning permission…

Single-storey Extension

In the majority of cases, a single-storey extension is considered a permitted property development. However, there are strict guidelines on size that you must follow to stay within the law and avoid the need for planning permission. Firstly, single-storey extensions cannot be taller than four metres – a relatively easy guideline to follow.

There is also a limit on how far an extension can extend outwards from the property. For semi-detached properties, the rear extension must not extend more than 3m from the rear wall of the original property. For a detached property the extension limit is 4m. Side extensions can be up to half the width of the original property. These limits apply to the original size of your home so be sure to check whether or not your home has already been extended by previous owners.

Remodel for Open Plan Living

Sometimes it isn’t extra space you need but a rearrangement of rooms. Interior remodelling is a permitted development as you are not extending the overall footprint of your property. Open plan living has become immensely popular in recent years and new builds are reflecting this trend. Ground floor remodelling for creating an open plan living space will make your home feel more airy and spacious, and create multifunctional zones for a more versatile lifestyle. Of course, if your home is classed as a listed building then you will need to seek approval and ascertain if any specific restrictions apply.

Garage Goals

Possibly one of the most achievable and cost effective home improvements you can make without planning permission is a garage conversion. An unused garage can be transformed into a new living space, giving you a whole new room, even two, if the space allows. A home office, a ground floor guest room or cosy snug with WC are all useful home additions and may add value to your property.

Providing you are not enlarging the building and all the work completed is internal, planning permission for a garage conversion is not usually required. That said, it is still sensible to consult your local authority before going ahead, as in rare cases permitted development rights have been removed for larger garages and for properties in conservation areas.

Consider a Conservatory

Conservatories have long been a popular choice for those wishing to add an extra ground floor room to their homes. With floor-to-ceiling windows, offering views of the garden and encouraging natural light into your property, they are the perfect space in which to unwind, especially on warm summer days.

When it comes to permitted development, conservatories fall within the same rules as single-storey extensions, but building regulations must be observed. A glazed structure may only be considered a conservatory and therefore exempt from building regulations if:

  • It doesn’t cover more than 30 metres of floor area

  • It is built at ground level

  • It is separated from the property by an external wall or window

  • It has a controlled heating system which is separate from that of the house

  • All glazing and electrical installations are compliant with the relevant building regulations.

Please note that different regulations apply to open-plan conservatories and approval must be sought.

Lofty Living

Just like garages, our lofts are also spaces which we can repurpose to free up precious extra space. Most loft conversions fall under permitted development and won’t require planning permission, even if adding a small amount of additional space.

As with ground floor extensions, there are some rules you must adhere to and once again they apply to the original house and not the current measurements of your property. Additions in the form of dormer windows, mansards or hip-to-gables must not exceed 50m3 in volume and 40m3 if converting the roof of a terraced house. In addition, you cannot extend above the highest part of the roof, nor include verandas or balconies, and all materials used must be similar in appearance to the original property.

At Hartleys we’re not experts in the fields of planning permission and building regulations, but we hope the ideas above will inspire you to move forward with that renovation you’ve been thinking about for the last few years! It is, however, a good idea to contact your local authority before you start your project to ensure you know exactly which guidelines to follow.

If you’d like our help in maximising your new living space with a fitted furniture design, please get in touch. From bedrooms and loft conversions to home studies and utility rooms, our bespoke storage and furniture will hug the contours of your room so you can enjoy all that lovely new space! Tel 01756 700471


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