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Planning permission is something that gives many UK homeowners a serious headache. Even fairly minor home alterations require planning permission, and the laws can be fairly complex.  This quick guide isn’t designed to replace specialist advice, but it should give you an idea of what you’re getting in to with your planned home improvements, and help you to figure out what questions to ask before you start.

What You Need to Know Before You Start Work

Planning permission is necessary for more alterations than you might think.  In some cases, even getting a new satellite dish installed may require planning permission.  Don’t assume that your conservatory installation work is “minor” and won’t need permission.  It only takes a few seconds to pick up the phone and ask, and it could save you a lot of grief in the long term.

Make sure you document all of your conversations with the council.  If you have any doubts, seek expert advice.

Period Properties

If you live in a period property or a listed building, then the planning permission process could take longer than it would for a more modern property. In general, modifications to a period property must be sympathetic to the original design.  So, you might struggle to add a modern glass conservatory to a Victorian property.  Try to work with the council, and be creative to come up with mutually acceptable solutions.

Making the Process Go Smoothly

You can make the process go more smoothly by having as much information as possible prepared before you contact the council.  There’s a lot of paperwork to think about, and having all the information you need at-hand will make life a lot easier.  At a minimum, have the following written down:

  • The type of property you live in
  • The type of mortgage agreement you have
  • The location of your planned extension or renovation
  • The size of the planned extension or renovation
  • A list of any other modifications that have already been done
  • The distance between the site of the extension, and your nearest neighbours
  • A list of any trees that will be affected

Most councils charge a fee to process planning permission applications, however they may be willing to give you a discount, or waive the fee in some circumstances. You can’t count on this happening, but it’s worth asking if there’s any help available for the kind of work you have planned.

It’s rare for planning permission to get denied, but that doesn’t mean that you can just submit the paperwork and then start building right away.  Your application may be approved, but with minor modifications.  Wait until you have permission before you start work.

Talk to Your Neighbours

Home extensions and conservatories are a common cause of feuds with neighbours.  If you are planning major building work, talk to your neighbours and try to work with them to minimise the disruption to their daily routine.  Having your neighbours on your side can make life a lot easier while the work is going on.

Ready to Apply?

You can find out how to apply online by clicking here.