Do I Need Planning Permission?

Abel Hinchliffe
23/02/2024
Do I need planning permission

From luxury home renovations to innovative new builds, bringing your architectural vision to life is always exciting. Preparation is the key to success, which is why it’s so important to put in the groundwork before starting your project. This is where planning permission comes in.

Regardless of size or scale, planning permission is generally the backbone of any construction project. It helps streamline the overall construction process, minimise delays and ensure the finished product is 100% legal and above-board.

Wondering whether you need planning permission? In this hands-on guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about planning permission. This includes a definition of the term and breakdown of the application process. Our goal? To empower you with the knowledge and confidence to navigate your construction project with confidence.

What is planning permission?

Dreaming of converting a centuries-old farmhouse in the Yorkshire countryside into a high-end home? Maybe you want to breathe new life into an existing property with an extension that champions light, space and open-plan living? Whatever your project, there’s a high chance you’ll need planning permission.

What is planning permission exactly? Granted by local authorities, planning permission is formal consent for certain types of development or changes to a property. Also called planning consent, it ensures that proposed construction projects comply with local policies and regulations, with a goal to safeguard the interests of both the property owner and the wider community.

Do I need planning permission if I own the property outright? Yes, even if you own your property, you’ll still need a permit to proceed with most major development plans.

The Federation of Master Builders defines planning permission as “the approval given by the local authority under the power given to it by the 1948 Town and Country Planning Act to allow the building of, or changes to, a building.”

Planning permission is typically required for:

  • New build developments
  • Property extensions
  • Significant alterations or renovations to an existing property
  • Change of use or rezoning of a property (for example, from residential to commercial)
  • Development in designated areas, for example National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Some demolitions

Why planning permission matters

If you proceed with a construction project that requires planning permission but fail to secure approval, you may be forced to demolish work or make significant changes. Needless to say, this can be an extremely costly venture.

Do I need planning permission if I plan to sell the property down the line? Absolutely. Properties that have been illegally developed may also be ineligible for a mortgage. This can create major issues when it comes to selling your property or using it as collateral.

When is planning permission needed?

Determining whether you need planning permission for your project depends on several factors. These include the size and nature of the proposed development.

In general, you’ll need planning permission in the following scenarios:

Major construction work

You’ll almost always need planning permission for new builds, as well as large property extensions and conversions that exceed certain size limits. Planning permission is also required for major alterations that change the appearance or function of the property.

Changes to listed buildings

Do I need planning permission for heritage buildings? Yes, you’ll need to request Listed Building Consent before making changes to a building with historic or architectural interest. This includes extensions and alterations that affect the character and appearance of the building. If the property is heritage listed, you might also need planning permission to modify outbuildings. The Historic England search tool is a terrific resource to check the listing status of a building.

Development within designated areas

While possible, development within National Parks, Conservation Areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty comes with unique challenges. Development is more restricted for buildings located in these types of areas, and often planning permission is required for minor work that would usually be exempt.

Alterations to the exterior of a property

Any modifications to the exterior of a property, such as adding or removing windows, installing new doors or altering the roofline, may require planning permission.

Changes of property use

Do I need planning permission for conversions? If you're converting a property for a different use, it’s highly likely you’ll need planning permission to ensure compliance with local zoning regulations. Our award-winning Corn Yard development is a prime example, which saw a 200-year-old industrial corn mill transformed into a pair of luxury, energy-efficient homes.

Exemptions for planning permission

Do I need planning permission for smaller projects? While planning permission is required for most construction projects, certain developments may be exempt and eligible for permitted development rights.

For reference, the government defines ‘permitted development rights’ as “the improvement or extension of homes without the need to apply for planning permission, where that would be out of proportion with the impact of the works carried out.”

Examples that may fall under permitted development rights include:

Minor property alterations

Small-scale changes or extensions that fall within specified size limits and don’t significantly alter the external appearance of the property.

Loft conversions

Converting an existing loft space into habitable accommodation may be permitted under certain conditions. These may include maintaining the existing roofline and not exceeding specified size limits.

Certain types of outbuildings

The construction of sheds, garages and other outbuildings may be permitted provided they meet size and placement criteria outlined in local planning regulations.

Secure planning permission with CODA Bespoke

Navigating the planning process can be daunting, but you don't have to go it alone. At CODA Bespoke, our experienced team of architects and planners are here to guide you through every step of the process, including obtaining planning permission. Here's how we can help:

Initial consultation: We'll start by discussing your project goals, ideas and any concerns you may have. Our team will assess the viability of your proposal and provide expert advice on planning requirements and potential challenges.

Design development: Once we have a clear understanding of your vision, we'll work closely with you to develop detailed design concepts.

Planning application: Our experienced team will prepare and submit a comprehensive planning permission application on your behalf. This includes gathering all the necessary documents and information to support your proposal. Why does this matter? A polished planning permission application can have a big impact on your project timeline and drastically reduce delays.

Negotiation and resolution: In the event of objections raised by authorities or local residents, we'll represent your interests and negotiate on your behalf to secure planning permission.

Construction oversight: Once planning permission is secured, our team will coordinate the construction phase of your project. We oversee every stage with acute attention to detail to ensure your vision is faithfully executed and the finished product exceeds expectations.

Ready to explore the possibilities for your construction project? Contact CODA Bespoke today to schedule a consultation and bring your vision to life.

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Abel Hinchliffe

With a wealth of experience Abel heads up CODA Bespoke, specialising in luxury residential developments both large and small. Recently entrusted with the responsibility of also heading up Studio 4 which is currently delivering numerous office to residential developments. Connect with Abel Hinchliffe on LinkedIn >

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