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The surprising home projects you might not need planning permission for; ..but don't forget to check with the council before you go ahead.

Byline: Lorna Hughes

Watched too many episodes of Location Location Location and fancy making some changes to yourhome?

Then you might be wondering about the paperwork process you'll need to go through with the local council before you start your project.

Nobody wants to fall foul of the planning rules and have to watch as all their hard work gets torn up.

But it's surprising the number of projects you might not need planning permission for -- even some more extravagant ones.

Remember though that keeping within the law means you will usually face restrictions on the size of your development -- so your dream conservatory can't be the size of a small house unless the council agrees.

And even if you don't need planning permission, you must always check to see if your planned development will comply with building regulations. They differ from planning regulations and are the minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building in the UK.

All the information given below is based on government planning guidance and was correct at the time of publication. It applies to houses, not flats or maisonettes unless specified.

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Don't forget to check with your local planning authority before going ahead with any work to ensure the rules haven't changed.

And remember other permissions may be needed if your house is listed or in a designated area.

Here are the projects you might not need planning permission for -- find out morehere.

Conservatories

You might assume that adding a conservatory to your home always means applying for planning permission -- but you'd be wrong.

Adding one is considered to be permitted development, as long as you abide by a lengthy list of limits and conditions.

They include that no more than half the area of land around the original house is covered by additions or other buildings, that no extension is forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway, and no extension can be higher than the highest part of the roof.

Single-storey rear extensions must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres if an attached house or by four metres if a detached house.

Porches

Adding a porch to any external door of your house is permitted development, provided the ground floor area (measured externally) is no bigger than three square metres.

The rules also say no part can be more than three metres above ground level and no part of the porch should be within two metres of any boundary of the house and highway.

Swimming pools

Planning permission is not usually required to install an outdoor swimming pool as a pool is generally considered to be a garden project.

But make sure you check whether your property is in a Conservation Area or other designated land, is on greenbelt land or is listed.

Converting your garage

You don't usually need planning permission -- provided the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building.

But no matter what work is involved, you will need permission if you intend to convert the garage into a separate house.

And the government advises that in some cases, permitted development rights have been removed from some properties around garage conversions. Again it's always important to check with your local planning department before going ahead with any work.

New windows and doors

You don't usually need planning permission for works counted as repairs, maintenance and minor improvements -- such as inserting new windows and doors.

That's as long as they are of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the house.

And a new bay window will be treated as an extension and may require permission.

The government says you might need to apply for planning permission if your local council has made a direction withdrawing permitted development rights.

Decking

Putting up decking, or other raised platforms, in your garden is permitted development.

You won't need application for planning permission, providing the decking is no more than 30cm above the ground

And no decking the entire garden -- together with other extensions including outbuildings etc, the decking or platforms must cover no more than 50 per cent of the garden area.

Solar panels

The government says the installation of solar panels on residential buildings may be "permitted development" with no need to apply to the Local Planning Authority for planning permission.

But as always, there are limits and conditions which must be met to benefit from these permitted development rights.

When solar panels are on a building, they should be sited, as far is practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the amenity of the area.

And the guidance adds: "When no longer needed equipment should be removed as soon as reasonably practicable.

"Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope or wall surface.

"The panels must not be installed on a building that is within the grounds of a listed building or on a site designated as a scheduled monument.

"If your property is in a conservation area, or in a World Heritage Site, panels must not be fitted to a wall which fronts a highway."

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Wind turbines

In some cases it is possible to install domestic wind turbines without the need to apply for planning permission. That's under permitted development rights and specified limits and conditions must be met.

There are strict restrictions on the size of both stand alone and mounted wind turbines, the materials used, and the types of land and building where they can be built.

A new roof

You do not usually need planning permission to re-roof your house or to insert skylights -- permitted development rules allow for roof alterations, but this is subject to limits and conditions around sizing and the type of glazing used.

Different rules apply when a loft conversion consists of an addition or alteration to the roof.

Hedges

You won't need planning permission for a hedge, but be aware that you risk falling foul of a planning condition or a covenant restricting planting, for example where sight lines could be blocked. In that case you'll need to apply for permission and/or other consent.

Outbuildings including sheds

Subject to restrictions around size and other limits, you shouldn't need planning permission as long as the building is for a purpose "incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse". Outbuildings built under permitted development can't be used for residential accommodation, for example for bedrooms.

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Publication:Crosby Herald (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2018
Words:1130
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