October 1 saw planning rules for potential conservatory owners take a positive step forward.
New Government rules state that a conservatory added to your home could be considered to be permitted development - in other words planning permission is not needed.
That means no lengthy delays before the building work can start - and no fees to pay!
The new legislation has the potential to lessen planning applications for extensions, including conservatories, on 80,000 homes over the next year.
There is a guide list to follow to ensure that you don’t fall foul of the new laws, as there can be exceptions to the new rules (see below). And remember that a reputable conservatory company will know what they are, and what isn’t allowed in your area.
These rules are new and planners are still coming to terms with them - so if you are unsure that your conservatory falls into the new guidelines give the planners a call at you local council.
Making Use of the New Legislation
If your new conservatory complies with the following you should be ok, but if it falls foul of any of these categories you will still need to apply for planning permission.
No more than half the area of land around the "original house" would be covered by additions or other buildings. In planning terms parlance this quite literally means the original house as built, or as it stood at 1 July 1948 if it was built before then.
You may not have extended your house, but previous owners may have, so don’t be caught out. A little detective work looking at deeds and old plans could save a great deal of trouble.
If you come across the term footprint, that means the groundfloor area of the building.
• No extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway - if you were thinking of adding a conservatory, no matter how small, to the front of your home - consult with the local planners.
• No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof
• Maximum depth of a single-storey rear extension of three metres for an attached house and four metres for a detached house
• Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension of four metres
• Maximum depth of a rear extension of more than one storey of three metres including ground floor
• Maximum eaves height of an extension within two metres of the boundary of three metres
• Maximum eaves and ridge height of extension no higher than existing house
• Side extensions to be single storey with maximum height of four metres and width no more than half that of the original house
• Roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey to match existing house
• No verandas, balconies or raised platforms
• On designated land no permitted development for rear extensions of more than one storey; no cladding of the exterior; no side extensions.
People living on designated land can include national parks and the
Broads, conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and world
heritage sites. Again, if you are not sure if your property falls into one of these
special areas a quick call to the planning department of your local authority
will give you the information you need.
On the subject of special cases the new legislation does not exclude gaining permission for changes to listed buildings where it is needed. To see how your home conforms a check is essential.
Check it out
Although the legislation states that planning permission is not needed, any conservatory has to conform to building regulations. These include glazing and any fixed electrical installations.
To keep on the side of the law visit www.planningportal.gov.uk. There is a section for the general public which explains what is needed.
This is also a good site to check out the new planning laws - it is used by many local authorities to provide online guidelines to the public.
Don't Rush In
The legislation is new and hasn’t been in the hands of planners for long, so if you are unsure what any of the above points mean call your local council to confirm that you are both interpreting the rules in the same way. It may be a good idea to get that confirmation in writing, in case of future queries.
A reputable conservatory company will have already contacted the local planning office to ensure that it is giving its customers the correct advice.
If you are erecting a DIY conservatory - a little time checking with planners and what the original footprint of your house was could save a lot of time, money, effort and even having to take it down in the long run