Extensions and alterations

Extensions and alterations

Extending or altering existing residential or commercial property might seem straightforward enough, but in planning terms, extensions can actually be quite complex. Depending on the size, type and location of your property, your extension might be subject to one of the following planning protocols:

Permitted development rights

Relatively small extensions are often covered under permitted development rights. Permitted development rights allow property owners to make small changes within the boundaries of their property, where the external impact is minimal. Permitted development rights are usually proportional to the type of property concerned, and the size of the plot or dwelling. At the very least they will cover most internal alterations, including loft conversions and minor outbuildings, unless the building is listed. Many new developments also have permitted development rights withdrawn for extensions and alterations.

Permitted development rights also usually cover changes such as external decking and most garden sheds, although there are always limitations on outbuildings, governing such factors as overall size relative to the development plot and height relative to the extent and the use of outbuildings beyond any physical connection with the building. Outhouses cannot usually be designated as overnight accommodation. Although permitted development rights can often be relatively straightforward, it is always worth getting planning advice to confirm what is and isn't allowed.

Prior notification

Prior notification is a temporary measure introduced by the government, and is designed to speed up the planning process for smaller applications. The notification involves informing neighbours of your intentions and giving them adequate time to respond, whilst also informing the local planning authority. The prior notification planning protocol typically governs schemes such as house extensions, but it can also be used for changes from offices to residential property.

Full planning application

Larger extensions and alterations, including major change of use schemes such as conversions, or the subdivision of your dwelling into flats, are more likely to require a full planning application.

In the first instance, please contact us for further advice about which protocol is most likely to affect your property and proposed development. Sometimes we can advise very quickly over the telephone, but in most cases it is best to start with an informal meeting.

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