News Letters

quick links

home page

specification manual
order planning guide
order specification manual
subscribe to newsletter
contact us

go to news letter archive

Find out more about our sister guide - The Specification Manual to support your Building Regulations application.

Monthly News letters for our subscribers

<< Planning Permission Tips >>

This months subject:-


Sorry for the delay in getting this news letter out but this last summer month has been a bit hectic but things are definitely slowing down now especially with regard to new work enquiries for residential development - Perhaps the interest rate hikes are beginning to bite at last.  This not only effects house prices but also peoples aspirations on what they want to do with their homes - The spending horns are being pulled in for a possible rocky ride into 2005 I fear.  It may not be a case of 'batten down the hatches' but hopefully more of a 'finger in the dyke' approach for next year until the high tide of personal debt recedes to manageable levels again (have you noticed the emptiness of ones local health clubs and Gyms just recently? - another sign that the slack money has now gone).

OK, down to business without my usual editorial link. There is a perception amongst most folk that every house is allowed a certain percentage of extension development without the need for formal Planning Permission. People seem to think that it applies to them even when they purchase an already extended property.

The Permitted development allowances as contained within the GPDO 1995, Statutory instrument 1995 No. 418 is a minefield of criteria and restrictions with affecting paragraphs and clarifications all over the document which has lead to a vast array of interpretations from homeowners, agents and Planning Authorities, some of which has been challenged in the courts. It is so cumbersome that there is even a government discussion document out at the moment seeking to address these issues that should result in an update or complete new legislation document in the coming months so watch this space.

This News Letter is far too short to go into every issue of what you can and cannot build within the curtilage of a dwelling house without formal Planning Permission (unless you have purchased my MAXIMUM BUILD PLANNING GUIDE OF COURSE???) but it may be advantageous to subscribers of this news letter to highlight some of the more common 'trip up' clauses that will prevent you from erecting your extension, outbuilding or alterations to your property as follows:-

1. Site zoning - if your property is within a conservation area or Area of outstanding natural Beauty or a National park then your PD limits may be fully withdrawn or limited from normal.

2. New dwellings - If your property was part of an estate, small infill development, one off build etc. within the last 15 years then there is a good chance that the Planners cleverly by stealth removed the PD rights to the property as part of the original Planning Approval as a Planning Condition.  This is to maintain control over your property in most aspects for the future. Even older housing estates may have their PD rights lifted so do check first. This is the most common of all reasons  why most ordinary householder hopes are dashed at the outset or illegal buildings are erected in the first place.

3.  Previously extended properties - If you are purchasing a property that has already been extended then it is likely that no further PD rights exist applicable to extending a dwelling. 70 cubic metres is not a great deal of extension volume.

4. Ancillary outbuildings - These have minimum distance requirements from the house and to a highway.  They also have strict ridge and Flat roof heights and are again affected by the sites zoning as in item 1 above. The use must also be ancillary and contain no bed space. So no granny annexes, office suites or huge buildings that cannot be classified as an 'ancillary use'.

5. Extension heights - If it is over 4M high within 2M of a boundary then sorry but no go here as well.

6. Fence heights - Normally 1M max. close to a highway or 2M in most other cases.

7. Roof Dormers - if they exceed the existing ridge line, front towards a highway (that means paths as well) or are greater than 40/50 cubic metres (terrace/other) or within a conservation area then no go for building them without Planning.

8.  Porches - that do not cover a doorway or exceed 3 square metres or exceed 3M high or are within 2 Metres to a highway do not comply with PD - you will need Planning Permission.

There are more areas of 'trip ups' but the ones listed above are the main common catches that most people fall into from time to time.

The solution is to always check the constraining details with your local Planning Dept. with what you want to do and get it 'informally' agreed in writing. This aspect is actually harder to obtain than you think as most Councils now want you to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness (C of E) which is a legally binding document that confirms (or denies) that you do not require formal Planning Approval for your scheme.  

You see the council have an unfair 'get out of jail free' card where their 'opinion letters' outside of a C of E are not legally binding? - Isn't that great! Can you imagine what the world would become if we were are all granted that sort of 'cop out' licence in our correspondence and professional opinions?

Cynical I may be but this sort of evasion of duty and responsibility really guiles me. The down side is when applying for a C of E is that you need proper drawings showing all aspects of the design, siting and location plan etc. which is not normally achievable in a DIY format by the householder, you need to pay a fee (currently £55.00) and surprise, surprise - it takes about 2 months!!!! to decide. - ere.......excuse me....but doesn't that sound just like a Planning application - YES - to be informed that you don't need planning in the first place! - what a great ploy and clever thinking by the boys at Whitehall. I think the phrase is....'you couldn't possibly make this up!

If you have trouble deciding what you want to build is PD or not and the council remain unhelpful outside of a C of E then do seek a professional opinion from a Building Design Agent used to this sort of residential development.

Our 'Maximum Build Planning Guide' explains further the tactics involved when extending a property under Permitted Development and what areas can be exploited for developing land or a site for residential use and how to give yourself the best chance of being granted an approval.

• To purchase our Maximum Build Planning Guide simply click on one of the links below....

To order by credit card via PayPal - click here.

To order by post - click here - this is a form that you can print off, fill in and send to us with your cheque.

We will send you our guide via email or a CD rom in the post shortly after.

To visit our main web site - click here

Thought for the month.....

“Time is our most valuable asset, yet we tend to waste it, kill it, and spend it rather than invest it.”

About the Author
MSM is a Practicing Planning Agent and building design team offering Architectural Services to their clients specialising in residential development.  The views and opinions expressed here are personal ones based on relevant life experiences.  These views and opinions are not intended to be actioned or copied by others.

This email, its content and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the addressee(s) and may be legally privileged and/or confidential. Access by any other party is unauthorised without the express written permission of the sender. If you have received this email in error you may not copy or use the contents, attachments or information in any way. Please destroy it and contact the sender via e-mail return. Internet communications are not secure unless protected using strong cryptography. This email has been prepared using information believed by the author to be reliable and accurate, but we make no warranty as to accuracy or completeness. In particular MSM does not accept responsibility for changes made to this email after it was sent. Any opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the company or its affiliates. They may be subject to change without notice.

New simple to understand Planning Permission Guide...

"Puts dozens of strategies and risk assessments procedures that you should be completing BEFORE you present a scheme for formal Planning Permission in the UK."

(Order your 'ebook' today and find out how the 'Professional Planning Consultant' prepares a scheme for residential development PRIOR to formally submitting  an extension scheme or full site redevelopment for Planning Permission!)



Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved.
Contact us: Email -
Address: MSM, PO Box 1087, Marlow, Bucks, SL7 3UA.