Those two words can send shivers down our spines can’t they?

In this survival guide we are going to make planning permission simple to understand and show you how we can help you through the application process.

And take heart – we’ve helped many other homeowners in and around Brighton to obtain the consent they needed to make a beautiful living space out of their loft conversion.

Don't Let The Thought Of Planning Permission Stop You

The simple fact is that most loft conversions do not require planning permission. For those that do, the process is much less arduous than you may have heard – and with a thoughtful, considered design by a team of experts who understand the local area, your chances of success are greatly increased.

So, as you read this, keep your end goal firmly in mind:

  • Loft conversions have the potential to increase the value of the average home by around £37,000 according to a Nationwide survey.
  • They can create the extra living space you need that will mean you do not need to consider an expensive and highly disruptive move.
  • They create more than just an extra room: the additional space creates possibilities for other rooms in your house.

Yet, time and time again you read or hear people say things like:

“We really need a loft conversion but the thought of gaining planning permission just seems like so much hassle…”

Don’t believe the hype, and don’t let the Big Bad Wolf of planning permission huff, puff and blow your dreams of a loft conversion down.

Here’s your survival guide.

Do You Need Planning Permission For A Loft Conversion

The first thing to bear in mind is that you may not need planning permission at all. Thanks to legislation which came into force in 2011 there are permitted development rights for loft conversions. This means that homeowners in England can extend their roof space without needing to seek planning consent as long as it meets certain conditions.

What are these conditions?

A loft conversion for your home will not require an application for planning permission, as long as it meets the following conditions:

  • The maximum volume allowance is:
    • 40 cubic metres for terraced houses.
    • 50 cubic metres for detached and semi-detached houses.
  • The extension must not:
    • Go beyond the plane of the roof’s existing slope at the front of the house.
    • Be higher than the roof itself.
    • Overhang any of the house’s walls.
  • Materials used must match the existing appearance of the house and:
    • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms can be added.
    • Side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed.
    • All openings must be 1.7 metres above the floor.
  • Loft conversions in conservation or designated areas will need planning permission.
  • Apart from gable-end conversions the extension should be set back at least 20 cm from the original eaves.

You can read a blow-by-blow account of these conditions in this technical guide from the government but, in simple terms, you can paraphrase them as follows:

“The types of conversion where consent must be sought include: most Dormer loft conversions, mansard loft conversions and gable-end conversions. In addition, should you live in a listed building or a conservation area any conversion will require planning permission.”

That’s simple enough to understand – so let’s now explain exactly what it means to you and what we can do to help.

Getting Planning Permission For Your Loft Conversion

Understandably many homeowners are unwilling to proceed with a loft conversion until they are 100% certain that they do not need planning permission.

We can arrange for our designs to receive a Certificate of Lawfulness (COL) which avoids the usual eight weeks wait for a planning decision but confirms the conversion is legal under the permitted development allowances. Should you, however, need to seek planning permission you are in for a two-month wait whilst the process is completed.

But let’s make sure we are clear about one thing. Just because a loft conversion must seek planning permission it doesn’t mean it will not receive approval. It just means you have to get this approval. Having worked in the local areas with homeowners for many years we have a very good understanding of the designs that are highly likely to be approved and those that are less so. We also appreciate exactly what has historically been permitted in your area and what has consistently been denied.

This means that we can tailor our designs to meet your goals and to meet the approval of the planning department.
What’s more we will help you all the way through your application.

What to do next

If you are looking into what you need to do visit the following pages:

Brighton & Hove’s local government information on planning permission

The national Planning Portal for details of the process involved

Or, better still, give us a call on 01273 539124 or email us and let us help you through the process and realise the room in your loft that have you been dreaming of.

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