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Do I Need Planning Permission? Your Ultimate Guide

planning drawings for extensions in Essex

Nearly a third of homeowners think that planning permission is a major obstacle to getting home renovations done. But not all renovations require planning permission – and with the right help, those that do can be pain-free, too.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is, essentially, the permission to conduct certain building work on your property. Local authorities – usually the planning department of your local council – hold the responsibility for planning permission.

In many cases, you won’t require any planning permission. However, it is your legal responsibility to find out if you do, and ensure it is completely approved before any work begins.

Do I need planning permission?

The rules around planning permission were updated in 2019, making it easier for homeowners to complete extensions, conservatories and other works. Some structures don’t require any planning permission – these are known as ‘permitted development rights’.

Planning permission for conservatories and extensions

Conservatories and single-story extensions are a popular choice for those wishing to extend their indoor space without seeking planning permission, as they generally fall within the allowed rules. They cannot be built:

  • to a height above 4 metres
  • to a length in excess of 4 metres in a detached home, or 3 metres in a semi-detached or terraced home
  • on higher ground than the rear surface of your property
  • to encroach onto publicly-owned territories, such as streets and highways.

Multi-story extensions have stricter criteria. They must not be built:

  • above the height of your existing roof
  • to a length in excess of 3 metres
  • any closer than 7 metres to the boundary of the property
  • with balconies or verandas.

Planning permission for garages and sheds

Garages, sheds and greenhouses are all classed as ‘outbuildings’. These are considered to be permitted developments, provided they are of a reasonable size. They can be no higher than 4 metres, and cannot take up more than half of the land around the original property.

Other home improvements

Changes to existing structures such as wall maintenance, replacing windows and doors, or paving over your front garden require no planning permission.

However, if your home is a listed building you will require planning permission for any alterations, regardless of size.

Does planning permission change based on location?

While the general laws around what is and is not considered to be a permitted development are universal across the UK, local planning restrictions, targets and preferences are governed by our Local Authority, which has the power to approve or refuse your request. It’s worth identifying what these restrictions are in your area before you begin your application.

For more details on planning permission in Essex and surrounding areas such as Southend, Basildon, Rochford, Castle Point or Thurrock, please speak with our expert team.

Writing your planning permission application

Submitting a planning permission application can be something of an obstacle course, especially given that each Local Authority has differing rules and preferences. If you’re working with an architect, they may put together planning drawings and submit planning permission for you. However, if you’re submitting the application yourself and you’re not familiar with your local regulations, it’s worth talking to a good planning consultant in your area to help you determine how to tailor your project and secure planning permission.

One of the key elements of a planning permission application is the submission of your planning drawings. Regardless of the size of the project, if it requires planning permission you will need to provide accurate floor plans for your designs.

They will need to be produced by an architect to the appropriate scale and demonstrate how your project will be in keeping with its surroundings.

How do I get help with my planning permission application?

MyHousePlan is an architectural and building design consultant in Essex. We have extensive experience in planning drawings, architectural design, and building regulations application submissions, with every type of property owner.

If your project is Essex-based, we have the inside knowledge to help you navigate the Local Authority’s regulations and secure permission for your home improvements.

As a local architect firm specialising in obtaining planning permission, we can help you create accurate design drawings to include with your application.

Do you have a project on the horizon?

For more details of planning permission in Essex, drawings and building regulations in Southend, Basildon, Rochford, Wickford, Billericay, Brentwood, Chelmsford Castle Point, Thurrock and all surrounding areas contact the experts at MyHousePlan here .

Need some inspiration? Read our latest case studies here.