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Please note that articles on this site & any other 'planning-approval' related web site does not constitute professional advice. All articles are intended to provide a general view of many subjects. We suggest you to consult a solicitor before making any important decisions.  The author is not an expert in any given field.


The Council has powers to make Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on single trees, groups or woodlands where it is thought necessary for the protection of amenity. The Order is served on the owner or occupiers of the land on which the trees are growing and objections to the Order may be made to the Council which has to consider them prior to deciding whether or not to confirm the Order. Details of all TPOs which have been made to date are available from the Strategic Planning Division. Consent has to be obtained from the Council to top, lop or cut down a protected tree and the Council can insist that replacement trees are planted if felling takes place together with large fines.

Conditions on planning permissions can also ensure that existing trees are kept and new ones are planted. Within a conservation area, six week’s notice should be given prior to any topping, lopping or felling of a tree. On larger areas of woodlands the Council has normally entered into management arrangements with landowners to ensure that commercial felling is carried out in such a way as to conserve the woodland and its associated flora and fauna.

Conservation & Listed Buildings

Conservation work has a wide brief covering heritage issues in the district’s towns, villages, coast and countryside. This includes work to the repair and restoration of historic buildings; the designation of Conservation Areas; specialist advice on conservation issues, including applications for planning permission and listed building consent; provision of conservation grants and initiatives to secure external funding such as the National Lottery Fund.

In addition, specialist conservation officers are now included within the Development Services Division in order to provide advice on conservation matters affecting planning applications and applications for listed building consent.

Conservation Areas

Conservation is concerned with preserving and enhancing our heritage. Conservation areas are defined as “areas of special architectural or historic interest the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”. Conservation areas range from the historic centres of major cities & towns to villages, parklands, twentieth century suburbs and historic disused railway lines.

A conservation area can be designated to protect a village green, an historic street pattern or features of archaeological interest. Information on the extent and boundaries of conservation areas can be obtained from the Strategic Planning Division. Development in conservation areas is more strictly controlled than elsewhere, the intention being not to prevent change but to ensure that the main features of the area are conserved and that new development is sympathetic in character. Thus, only detailed plans, and not outline applications, are considered for new development in conservation areas.

Councils will require new development in conservation areas to have close regard to the traditional building styles, forms, materials and techniques characteristic of the area. The height, size, design, roofscape, plot width and visual appearance of new development and the design of any new vehicle access, will be required to respect the character of the conservation area.  Anyone wishing to totally demolish an “unlisted” building or other structure (for example, a wall) within a conservation area, must first apply to the City Council for conservation area consent. This is a separate procedure from applying for planning permission or listed building consent.

There is a general presumption against the demolition of buildings or structures that are within the conservation area and contribute to its character and appearance.

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Quick links  to our BUILDING guide -
Building control - exempt buildings   

Planning control - permitted development works

Building Control - Exempt Buildings

Some buildings and extensions are exempt from the Building Regulations. These include small garden sheds, detached garages, conservatories and porches. In all cases certain restrictions on size, use or construction apply.

The following information has been provided to help you decide if your building works are exempt.  Most Building Control Departments will have an 'Exempt Buildings Form' which lists those works which are entirely exempt. The completion and return of this form will allow the Council to provide you with written confirmation that your proposed building work is exempt or not . There is no requirement to submit this form, however, our experience has shown that written confirmation that works are exempt can be useful and save time when the property is being sold. Please note that Planning Permission may also be required for your proposed building work. Therefore you are advised to contact the Development Control Section to seek their comments.

Glazing for Conservatories and Porches Any glazing shown in the shaded areas of the diagram below needs to comply with Approved Document N of the Building Regulations 1992, for the proposals to be considered exempt.

Types of Exempt Building Work Certain buildings and extensions are granted complete exemption from the Building Regulations, these are listed below:

Class I - Buildings controlled under other legislation. eg. Ancient Monuments and Nuclear power stations.
Class II - Buildings not frequented by people. eg. Detached building housing plant, only visited for maintenance.
Class III - Greenhouses and agricultural buildings. Greenhouses provided they are not used for retailing, packing or exhibiting. Agricultural buildings, eg. a barn used solely for keeping animals. Class IV - Temporary buildings. eg. a marquee erected for a show or exhibition.
Class V - Ancillary buildings. eg. huts on a construction site.
Class VI - Small detached buildings. See diagram below.
Class VII - Extensions. See diagram below. In addition to this, other criteria is applicable to conservatories and porches.

Building Control - Policy Note 3/02 Criteria for an extension, used as a conservatory, being exempt from the Building Regulations - [Schedule 2, Exempt Buildings and Work, Class VII (a)] Background: Over recent years the public perception of what can be termed a conservatory has changed. The Oxford Dictionary (1990) defines a conservatory as "a greenhouse for tender plants " and in particular "one attached to and communicating with a house". The Building Regulations, Approved Document L1, Section 1 (1.58) states that "a conservatory has not less than three quarters of the area of its roof and not less than one half of the area of its external walls made of translucent material" Since conservatories became exempt under the 1985 Building Regulations manufacturers have exploited this exemption by promoting them for such uses as breakfast, dining and sitting rooms: effectively they are seen as an extension to living accommodation.


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Obtaining Planning Permission for residential development in either extending your property or redeveloping the site for new dwellings needs careful presentation & a risk assessment prior to submitting for Planning Consent. A badly presented scheme to the Planning Department by the Novice home owner can lead to an Automatic Rejection & a Planning Refusal that could be hard to overturn. Our MAXIMUM BUILD Guide will assist you in assessing your sites potential & what areas you can exploit prior to submitting your scheme for Planning Permission.

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Policy: To be considered exempt, an extension to a building for use as a conservatory shall be: At ground level and not exceed 30m2 floor area. Glazed to satisfy the requirements of Part N of Schedule 1. Physically separated internally from the building it is attached to, e.g. by a door. Without sanitary appliances. Provided with separate temperature and on/off controls on any fixed heating. Not intended for year round habitable use. Used to some extent for the propagation of plants. Note: All other extensions used as a conservatory are fully controlled under the Building Regulations, as are all conservatories erected in conjunction with a new build house.

Building Control - Policy Note 4/02 Criteria for an extension, used as a porch, being exempt from the Building Regulation - [Schedule 2, Exempt Buildings and Work, Class VII (a)]. Background: Since porches became exempt under the 1985 Building Regulations owners and developers have exploited this to cover a wide range of extensions. The Oxford Dictionary 1990 defines a porch as "a low structure projecting from the doorway of a house and forming a covered entrance". Policy: To be considered exempt, an extension to a building for use as a porch shall be: At ground level and not exceed 30m2 floor area. Glazed to satisfy the requirements of Part N of Schedule 1. Positioned over and physically separated from the building it is attached to by a door. Without sanitary appliances. Provided with separate temperature and on/off controls on any fixed heating.

Development Control - PLANNING

Planning advice - what you can and cannot do:

Domestic Alterations, Extensions and alterations, Roof extensions, Swimming Pools, Garages, Garden Sheds, Greenhouses, Porches, Containers, Hardstanding, Gates, Fences, Walls, Satellite antenna, Painting.

All of the above works can to some degree be completed without the need to obtain a specific Planning Approval. This is called Permitted Development.  However, like most government legislation it is riddled with catches & restrictions so you must always check first as your site might have specific conditions that do not allow the implementation of your permitted development rights.

Applications for planning permission to carry out domestic work constitute the largest single category of applications dealt with by most Councils (approximately 40% of the total).The following summary provides general guidance on a number of minor domestic works which may normally be undertaken without the need for an application for planning permission. However, professional advice should always be sought before carrying out works, because the regulations themselves are complex. Particular care must be taken if the house is a listed building, is within a conservation area, or affected by an Article 4 Direction, or is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

To compliment our Planning Guide we have also produced a UK specific Specification Manual solely aimed at the domestic/residential side of building.  Are you completing your own drawing plans for the Building Regulations as well? Why not obtain our 'Specification Manual' to assist you with obtaining Building Regulations Approval as well.  Alternatively you may have already secured Planning Approval & just need this document.

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(1) Extensions or other alterations provided that:

(a) measured around the outside, the extension is less than 70 cubic metres or 15%* of the volume of the original house, whichever is the greater. If the house is in a terrace, or a conservation area or an AONB, the limit is 50 cubic metres or 10%*. If the house has been extended before, the volume of this must be added to the new work and, together, be less than the limit;* In these cases, an overall maximum of 115 metres applies.

(b) any extension does not project above the highest part of the roof of the original house;

(c) no part of the extension is within 20 metres of any highway**. However, if the original house is less than 20 metres from a highway, any extension must not be nearer the highway than the original house;

(d) no part of any extension, within 2 metres of a boundary, is more than 4 metres high;

(e) the total area of such building does not exceed one half of the garden area;

(f) within a conservation area or AONB, no cladding of any part of the exterior with stone, artificial stone, timber, plastic or tiles, is carried out.** A footpath may be a highway for the purposes of this provision.

(2) Roof extensions provided that:

(a) any extension does not exceed the highest part of the existing roof;

(b) any extension does not extend beyond an existing roof slope which fronts a highway**;** A footpath may be a highway for the purposes of this provision.

(c) the cubic content of the house is not increased by more than 40m3, in the case of a terraced house, or 50m3 in any other case;

(d) as with other extensions, the cubic content of the original house must not be increased beyond the limits set out in item

(1)(a). If the house has been extended before, the volume of this must be added to the roof extension and together be less than the relevant limit;(e) the house is not in a conservation area or an AONB.

(3) Swimming pools, garages***, garden sheds, greenhouses, etc, required for domestic purposes provided that:

(a) any development is not within 20 metres of a highway**. If the original house is less than 20 metres from a highway, any development must not be nearer the highway than the original house;

(b) any building greater than 10 cubic metres is not within 5 metres of the house. Such buildings may sometimes be treated as extensions and fall within (1) above;

(c) in the case of a ridged roof, its height does not exceed 4 metres and, in any other case, 3 metres;

(d) any building is not greater than 10 cubic metres, if the house is listed or if it is in a conservation area or an AONB;

(e) the total area of any development does not exceed half of the garden area of the house.*** An application for planning permission may be needed to form or alter an access to a highway, particularly if it is a classified road.

(4) Porches provided that:

(a) their floor area does not exceed 3 square metres;(b) they are not more than 3 metres high;(c) they are not within 2 metres of any highway**.** A footpath may be a highway for the purposes of this provision.

(5) Containers for storage of oil for domestic heating provided that:

(a) their capacity is not more than 3,500 litres;(b) they are not more than 3 metres above ground;(c) they are at least 20 metres from the highway or, if the original house is less than 20 metres from the highway, not closer to the highway than the original house**.

(6) Hardstanding*** within the garden of a house for domestic purposes eg a patio or a car parking space.*** An application for planning permission may be needed to form or alter an access to a highway, particularly if it is a classified road.

(7) Gates, fences or walls provided that:

(a) they do not exceed 1 metre in height adjacent to a highway used by vehicles, or 2 metres elsewhere;

(b) they do not exceed the height of any existing gate, fence or wall if these are greater than the heights referred to in (a);

(c) the house is not listed.

(8) A satellite antenna provided that:

(a) it does not exceed 90cm in any dimension, or 45cm if installed on a chimney;

(b) there is no other satellite antenna on the house or within the garden;

(c) it is not higher than the highest part of the roof, or the highest part of the chimney if installed on a chimney; Note: Special restrictions apply in conservation areas and AONB’s. In all cases an antenna must be sited to minimise its effect on the external appearance.

(9) The painting of the exterior provided that:

(a) it is not for the purpose of advertisement, announcement or direction.* In these cases, an overall maximum of 115 metres applies. ** A footpath may be a highway for the purposes of this provision. *** An application for planning permission may be needed to form or alter an access to a highway, particularly if it is a classified road.

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If you intend to demolish the whole or part of a building you need to inform us. Legally you should not start any demolition work unless you have notified the council. This notification must specify the building to which it relates and the area of demolition. Notification can be provided by letter, fax or email, or the councils form.  When you notify the council of a proposed demolition, you must also send a copy of the notification to: the occupiers of any adjacent buildings, British Gas Transco and Seeboard.

Notification of a demolition is not required where: a demolition order under the Housing Act 1985 has been served. the demolition is of an internal part of any occupied building, which is intended to remain occupied. the building is less than 1750 cubic feet, measured externally (approximately 50 cubic metres). the building is a greenhouse, conservatory, shed or prefabricated garage, even if the building forms part of a larger building. it is an agricultural building, unless it is near or touching another building that is not an agricultural building or a building mentioned in (c) or (d) above.

Building Control - When can you demolish the building?

Once you have sent the council notification that you intend to demolish a building, they will send you a counter notice setting out requirements on how the demolition is to be undertaken. These could include: To shore up any building adjacent to the building to which this notice relates.  To weatherproof any surfaces of an adjacent building which are exposed by the demolition. To repair and make good any damage to an adjacent building caused by the demolition or by the negligent act or of any person engaged in it. To remove material or rubbish resulting from the clearance and demolition of the site. (*)To disconnect and seal, at such points as the Council may reasonably require, any sewer or drain in or under the building. (*)To remove any such sewer or drain and seal any sewer or drain with which the sewer or drain to be removed is connected.  (+)To make good to the satisfaction of the Council the surface of the ground disturbed by anything done under paragraph(*). To make arrangements with relevant statutory undertakers for the disconnection of the supply of gas, electricity and water to the building To make such arrangements with regard to the burning of structures or materials on site as may be reasonably required:  if the building forms part of special premises, by the Health & Safety Executive and the Fire Authority; and in any other case, by the Fire Authority.

Once the demolition work starts you are required to inform the council of the following:

Before you comply with the requirements of the paragraphs marked by * above you must give at least 48 hours notice to us. Before you comply with the requirements of the paragraph marked by + above you must give at least 24 hours notice to the council. Copies of this counter notice will also be sent to: British Gas, Transco, electricity board, Water Board, The Fire Safety Service, The Planning Section Any adjacent occupiers

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