Wanting to expand your living space is a common aspiration for homeowners throughout the UK and in London. And you may have the attitude of, “it’s my land and I’ll do what I want with it”. Which isn’t totally uncommon.
But that kind of attitude can get you in serious trouble. In fact, you can be forced to destroy buildings which have been built without permission - so it’s worthwhile getting permission rather than trying to ask for forgiveness.
And that’s what this blog is about. We’re going to talk about when you need planning permission, when you don’t, and any tricks to help get that permission once you’ve recognised you need it. Now, we can’t list every possible situation when you do or don’t need planning permission, but we can give you a broad overview.
For the definitive guide you should check out the City of London website here.
When You Need Planning Permission
The need for planning permission can change depending on whether you live in a flat or a house.
For example, if you live in a flat, you may need planning permission for simple changes like changing a door or a window. Equally, if you’re looking to change a house into a set of flats you’ll need permission for that too.
One situation where you’ll always need planning permission is when making changes to a listed building. The rules around this are pretty clear. So always make sure to check - especially because if you ever come to sell your house or flat you’ll run into major difficulty if you’ve made changes without the appropriate permission. In fact, you could even end up in prison!
When You Don’t Need Planning Permission
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re making minor internal changes to your own house or flat, then you *should* be fine to make those changes. As mentioned above, it’s always useful to check, but there isn’t usually any issue with this - especially if it isn’t a listed building.
Another general rule of thumb for making changes to your house is when you want to add an extra storey. The rule is that this is usually OK and does not need planning permission - which you may find surprising.
There are various criteria you need to meet, which you can find here, but it’s usually OK to add an extra storey to your house. And this is a great way to increase the value of your home so is certainly something worth considering if you have the inclination.
Tips To Getting Planning Permission
So, the first tip we’d share is to give us a call and get our advice on whether you need planning permission. We’ll be happy to talk through your project and advise whether permission is required before you spend your time filling out forms.
After that, the main thing you need to do is to ensure your paperwork is accurate. Obviously, it’ll be a waste of your time to send everything through if you’ve done it wrong!
It may also be wise to consider working with professional building designers to prepare your drawings. What they cost you up front can easily be saved if your permission is rejected due to minor mistakes forcing you to re-submit the paperwork.
The last tip we’d suggest would be to consider getting pre-application planning advice. This is a good way of testing the waters before committing to completing the paperwork.
Permission To Finish?
So, there you have it. A broad overview of Planning Permission in London. Hopefully you’ve found it useful. As discussed, there’s a lot to consider, so please make sure to check with your relevant authority before embarking on any work.