Environmental Concerns Alter Planning Rules; the Law Room When It Comes to Making Changes to Your Home, What Do You Need Permission for and Will These Rules Change? Planning Law Expert Paul Courtine Explains All

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Courtine of Ward Hadaway

MANY people never knowingly have anything to do with the planning system. They simply add a conservatory to their house without having to ask the council for permission. It's the case that almost all building work requires planning permission, so how is it some people don't need to worry about it?

Not surprisingly, if people needed to apply for permission every time they wanted to make improvements to their home by, say, adding dormer windows or a porch, there would be a huge number of applications. Virtually every other person in the country would need to be employed as a planner in order to process all the applications.

We are spared this thanks to permitted development rights. These allow people to do certain works to their home without having to apply. They're allowed because those works are treated as having planning permission.

In order to take advantage of these rights, certain restrictions have to be followed and depend on the kind of work proposed. Alterations to a roof are not allowed if the shape of the house changes, some extensions can only add a certain amount of floor space, and improvements can't be done to specified parts of a house. Another important limit is that it only applies to houses. This means the millions of people who live in flats are excluded.

The works which people are allowed to do without getting planning permission has changed. People are allowed to put up solar panels and other renewable energy systems, as long as they comply with certain conditions. …