Reg­u­la­tions for ex­ten­sions have been eased – not abol­ished

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Jonathon Wing­field

We are plan­ning to start a fam­ily but in the cur­rent eco­nomic cli­mate can not af­ford to move house. It seems to make more sense to try and ex­tend our cur­rent prop­erty but would like to do this as cheaply and sim­ply as pos­si­ble. We live in a semide­tached house and there are sev­eral ex­am­ples in our road where peo­ple have built over their drive­ways cre­at­ing an ad­di­tional bed­room at first floor and a car port. I un­der­stand that this re­quires plan­ning per­mis­sion but can you tell me what is the ex­tent of the work we can do be­fore we have to start ap­ply­ing for for­mal plan­ning per­mis­sion and in­cur­ring ex­pen­sive fees?

Re­cent changes to plan­ning law have ac­tu­ally made it a lot eas­ier for peo­ple to ex­tend their houses. If done cor­rectly it is a great way of cre­at­ing more space whilst at the same time in­creas­ing the value of your prop­erty. Un­for­tu­nately, there are thou­sands of ex­am­ples of poorly con­ceived ex­ten­sions that re­sult in mak­ing our street unattrac­tive and the houses some­times dif­fi­cult to sell. We have all seen sim­i­lar ex­am­ples to the one you quote of a dou­ble height flat roof ex­ten­sion tagged onto the side of sub­ur­ban semi.

Do not au­to­mat­i­cally dis­miss em­ploy­ing pro­fes­sion­als and go­ing down the plan­ning route if it is re­quired. Gen­er­ally an ar­chi­tect will be able to sug­gest ideas that you had not per­haps thought of and as­sist greatly in the de­liv­ery of the pro­ject. As­sum­ing you want a rel­a­tively mod­est ex­ten­sion then this may be achiev­able un­der what is called your Per­mit­ted De­vel­op­ment Rights.

These rules were es­tab­lished be­cause it was recog­nised that it was to­tally im­prac­ti­cal for ev­ery bit of do­mes­tic de­vel­op­ment to be dealt with by the Lo­cal Plan­ning Au­thor­ity.

How­ever, there are no­tice­able ex­cep­tions. For ex­am­ple, if you live in a Na­tional Park, Con­ser­va­tion Area or a build­ing that is listed for ar­chi­tec­tural or his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance then a plan­ning per­mis­sion will most likely be needed for just about ev­ery form of de­vel­op­ment.

One of the most pop­u­lar and cost ef­fec­tive ways of in­creas­ing your liv­ing space is to con­vert the at­tic space. Any ex­ten­sion into the loft should not re­sult in part of the roof ex­tend­ing be­yond the high­est part of the main roof.

Un­for­tu­nately the leg­is­la­tion re­lat­ing to at­tic win­dows is slightly more com­pli­cated but if you in­stall roof lights to the ex­ist­ing roof and they do not pro­trude sig­nif­i­cantly then plan­ning per­mis­sion is not usu­ally re­quired.

With the rel­a­tive re­lax­ation in Per­mit­ted De­vel­op­ment Rights it may also be pos­si­ble to build a mean­ing­ful ex­ten­sion to the rear or side of your house. The fol­low­ing, al­though not ex­haus­tive, pro­vides a brief guide to what is al­lowed: In or­der to pro­tect amenity space the to­tal area of built over land, ex­clud­ing the orig­i­nal house, can be no greater than 50 per cent of the to­tal gar­den and must not ex­tend for­ward from the prin­ci­pal el­e­va­tion or any side el­e­va­tion that fronts onto a high­way.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the max­i­mum depth of a sin­gle storey, rear ex­ten­sion is three me­tres for an at­tached house and four me­tres for a de­tached with the max­i­mum height al­low­able also set at four me­tres.

If you are propos­ing to build at the side of your house then with­out a for­mal con­sent, the new build el­e­ment has to be less than half the width of the orig­i­nal house.

Lastly, both the roof pitch and ex­ter­nal ma­te­ri­als used need to match the main house.

These are just the ba­sics. It worth check­ing out the Plan­ning Por­tal web site www. plan­ning­por­tal.gov.uk/ per­mis­sion/house.

If in any doubt I would sug­gest a visit to your lo­cal plan­ning depart­ment

Jonathon Wing­field is Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Acan­thus WSM Ar­chi­tects Ltd and Wood­hall Plan­ning and Con­ser­va­tion Ltd

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