Planning Permission

House extension or loft conversion planning permission can often be daunting. Alvaston Loft Conversions Ltd will handle all of the difficulties, offering you peace of mind throughout.

While conversions and extensions can be complex, our team will professionally manage the project and will be happy to answer any questions you may have during the process. If you have any specific requests, your personal project manager will be happy to help.

Planning permission is a critical part of a loft conversion or house extension. As part of our professional service, we will manage all of this, addressing any issues that arise in the process.

In most cases, loft conversion planning permission is not generally required.

Loft conversions for the home have a unique status as ‘permitted development,’ this means you can commence work on your roof conversion without the need to apply for and obtain planning permission from your local council.

A permitted development loft conversion is viable on condition that the conversion is built to satisfy specific regulations and requirements. Any loft conversion plans that fail to sit within this threshold will then require you to submit the necessary planning applications before work can begin.

It is important to note that not all homes in England are covered by permitted development rights. If your home is on designated land, a National Park or an Area of Outstanding Beauty, for example, it is almost certain that you will need prior planning permission for an extension. Some residential areas might also have had permitted development rights revoked by a local council.

PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT LOFT CONVERSIONS

The surest way to determine if you require loft extension planning permission is through the expert advice of an architect, a seasoned builder or through contacting your local council. As a guide, a permitted development extension should adhere to the following criteria:

  • To be a permitted development extension, any additional roof extension space that is created must not exceed:
  • 40 cubic metres of additional roof space for a terraced house
  • 50 cubic metres of additional roof space for a semi-detached or detached house
  • Materials must be similar in appearance to those used on the existing house
  • A permitted development extension must not protrude beyond the plane of the existing roof slope of the principal elevation that fronts any highway
  • No part of the extension can be higher than the highest part of the existing roof
  • Verandas, balconies & raised platforms are not allowed as permitted development conversions
  • Roof extensions are NOT permitted developments on designated lands – National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Beauty, The Broads, Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites
  • All side-facing windows should be obscure-glazed and any openable parts of the window should be at least 1.7m above the floor of the room in which they have been installed
  • Loft extensions should be set back as far as possible and at least 20cm from the original eaves. This does not apply for hip-to-gable roof extensions
  • The roof enlargement must not overhang the outer face wall of the original house
  • Protected species must be considered. Therefore, if there are bats roosting in the building, a licence might still be required

Your architect or builder will usually plan your loft conversion within these boundaries, but there are instances when it is not possible or specific client specifications require that one, or a few, of these roof extension regulations, are surpassed.

In these circumstances, your loft conversion is no longer protected by permitted development rights and prior planning applications are required.

APPLYING FOR CONSENT

Once you have ascertained that your roof extension plans require planning permission, you must submit a planning application to your local council. The easiest way to submit your planning applications is through the Planning Portal.

Planning Portal is an online service that allows you to submit roof conversion planning permissions and building regulations to every local authority in England.

The online system is easy-to-use, even for people with minimal online experience, and the hub provides expert advice and step-by-step guides, saving you time, money and increase the chances of loft conversion planning permission approval.

COST OF PLANNING

The costs of loft conversion planning applications vary across UK countries. The prerequisites for loft conversion planning applications also slightly differ from country and country.

England and Wales conform to the same standards with regards to loft conversion planning permission, whereas Scotland and Northern Ireland’s regulations have a number of variants from those of the UK and Wales:

  • Planning Permission Cost in England: £172
  • Planning Permission Cost in Wales: £190
  • Planning Permission Cost in Scotland: £202
  • Planning Permission Cost in Northern Ireland: £285

If Alvaston Loft Conversions is your roof extension specialist of choice, we take care of and submit all of the necessary Planning Permissions, Loft Conversion Building Regulations and Inspection Fees on your behalf.

After we have carried out a home inspection and issued a quote that you are happy with, we request a small deposit from all clients to initially help us cover the costs associated with the necessary permissions and inspections, and this amount is then deducted from your final invoice.

PLANNING APPEALS

Householder planning applications cover small-scale renovations such as loft conversions and house extensions. Very rarely is a small scale application denied by a local authority, however, it can happen and you need to be aware of your appeal options should this instance occur.  

You have grounds to appeal if the local authority did not make their decision on your plans within 8 weeks. The decision period is extended to 13 weeks for major developments, but in relation to loft extensions, conversions and small home renovations, 8 weeks is the standard deadline period for a council decision.

You also have a right to appeal if you simply do not agree with the decision that has been made.

  • For disagreements, you must appeal within 12 weeks of the plans being rejected
  • If the deadline was missed from the authority’s behalf, you have 12 weeks to appeal from the original decision due date
  • If you received an enforcement notice, you will only have 28 days to appeal from the day the notice was issued
  • You can appeal with a written appeal, at an informal hearing or through public enquiry
  • Most homeowner can, and are encouraged to, appeal using written representation
  • A public enquiry will ONLY be held in the most complex of scenarios
  • The local authority must respond within 6 weeks of your appeal, to which you have 3 weeks to submit a response and supporting evidence for your reasons
  • A planning inspector will visit your home and give their decision within 2 to 6 weeks of the home visit
  • Be prepared to wait – Appeals take approximately 5 months from submitting the appeal to receiving a verdict

Based on statistics from the Planning Inspectorate, only one in three loft conversion appeals are successful, so 5 months awaiting a negative verdict can be a lot of wasted time. Due to this, it is always recommended that applicants discuss ways they can alter their proposal to increase the chance of approval, then request a withdrawal of the original planning applications and resubmit with the necessary changes.

If you still think it is beneficial to go down the appeal route, written appeal is the quickest and most straightforward method of planning permission appeal. To increase your chances of success, you should be as detailed as possible; stating all of the reasons why you believe your loft conversion plans should have been granted permission.

The overseeing council will send you a number of forms to complete, some of which are lengthy and can be confusing to an amateur, so it might be advantageous to get a planning consultant to help you with the appeal process.

LOFT CONVERSION REGULATIONS

Irrespective of whether your loft conversion is permitted development or requires planning permission, the work carried out must still adhere to a specified list of loft conversion building regulations.

Loft conversion regulations aren’t in place to be awkward; they are pre-determined requirements to ensure that all work carried out is structurally sound, fire safe and that noise is well insulted between the loft space and the living areas below.

The exact regulations that you need to satisfy will vary depending on the type of loft conversion you have. Although this is not an exhaustive list, some of the most important loft conversion building regulations to consider for any home conversion are:

FIRE SAFETY:

  • Floors, doors are walls are required to resist fire and its effects for a specified length of time – this is usually 30 minutes
  • Stairways must provide a safe and easy exit from the loft conversion in case of event of a fire – a minimum headroom of 2 metres is required
  • Mains powered smoke alarms are needed
  • A means of escape window must be fitted with a minimum opening of33m²

STRUCTURAL:

  • Floors and beams must be designed, checked and confirmed to support the weight of the new room and its loads
  • Walls, windows and the roof must be energy efficient and minimise heat loss from the loft as well as be able to keep rain out
  • Adequate ventilation must be installed to ventilate the rooms and prevent condensation

OTHER:

  • Sufficient sound insulation must be present to reduce sound transmission between the loft conversion and living spaces below
  • Appropriate drainage solutions should be established and installed before work starts
  • You MUST use a certified electrician for any electrical work that takes place in your loft

PARTY WALL AGREEMENT

A party wall is a shared wall that separates two separate homes, commonly featured in terraced and semi-detached homes.

A party wall agreement is required for building works that might affect this party wall, loft conversions are the most common example of this.  Before any work affecting the said party wall can begin, the homeowner undertaking the work should obtain a Party Wall Agreement from the owner of the adjoining home or homes.

The process begins by the homeowner issuing a written Party Wall Notice to their neighbours, which outlines all planned party wall works. This can be done for free by using standard forms, which will also include a letter of acknowledgement for your neighbour to complete. You don’t need prior planning permissions and you have one year to begin work after the notice has been served.

Party Wall Agreements are seen as courteous to the neighbouring home owner and neighbours commonly reach an agreement without trouble. If any affected neighbour was to reject or have qualms with the proposed agreement, there are a few avenues that you can take to appeal the decision, so don’t worry too much.