What is Planning Permission?
The purpose of the planning permission regulations, is to ensure that the character of an area, and the environment are not adversely affected by property development. Planning permission will stop your neighbour building a huge extension, and blocking sunlight from you property. Planning permission would also stop developers building a block of flats somewhere where it would spoil the surrounding area. Parliament have given local councils the responsibility to control what development is allowed in their area.
How does it affect you?
If you are thinking about developing your property, your first concern should be your neighbours. For example, if you extend your house, are you going to block sunlight for a neighbour or spoil their view? You should also note that if the property is listed, there will also be tighter rules in place controlling what development can be done. In Planning law, ‘development’ is defined as :
‘the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.’
If in doubt, you should always check with the planning department of your local council. If planning permission is needed, it should always be granted before building starts, because if you build without planning permission when you needed it, you may have to remove the building at your own expense.
The Planning permission website quotes the following as examples for when planning permission would be needed:
- You want to make additions or extensions to a flat or maisonette (including those converted from houses). (But you do not need planning permission to carry out internal alterations or work which does not affect the external appearance of the building.)
- You want to divide off part of your house for use as a separate home (for example, a self-contained flat or bed-sit) or use a caravan in your garden as a home for someone else. (But you do not need planning permission to let one or two of your rooms to lodgers.)
- You want to build a separate house in your garden.
- You want to divide off part of your home for business or commercial use (for example, a workshop) or you want to build a parking place for a commercial vehicle at your home.
- You want to build something which goes against the terms of the original planning permission for your house – for example, your house may have been built with a restriction to stop people putting up fences in front gardens because it is on an “open plan” estate. Your council has a record of all planning permissions in its area.
- The work you want to do might obstruct the view of road users.
- The work would involve a new or wider access to a trunk or classified road.
Planning offices are generally very helpful, so dont be afraid to ask about anything you are unsure about, they will be happy to answer your questions.