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Planning permission and permitted development rights

Do I need planning permission?
In some cases you will not need planning permission, but you should not automatically assume that you will not. The difficultly is that there is no straightforward answer as to whether you need planning permission or not. You need to get advice from a builder, and probably specialist legal advice as well. The problem is that every building will have its own special conditions, depending upon the area in which it is located, and so it is impossible to give ‘one size fits all’ advice to a householder, or owner of a commercial property. However, in this short guide we will tell you some of the basics that you need to know about planning permission and permitted development rights.
Who do I go to for planning permission?
To gain planning permission you will need to go to a local authority, or its equivalent in some areas. This may be the local authority, a local council, or a municipal authority. There may be slightly different procedures in different parts of the United Kingdom. It is not well known that making alterations to certain types of building is actually illegal and a criminal offence! That is why it is very important to find out about planning permission before you make changes. Even if you do not break the law, the local authority may make it necessary for you to change the building if you do not have planning permission, and reverse the changes that have been made.
What are the things I need to look at?
The first thing that you need to look at, with specialist advice, is the area that your building is in. If you are in a conservation area, then special planning permissions will apply. You may not know if your building is in a conservation area, but your local authority may be able to help you with this. If your building is in an area of natural beauty, a national park, or an area of particular historical interest, then you may find that there are additional planning permissions that apply.
What about listed buildings?
It may be that your building is a listed building. In that case there are even more restrictions that apply, regarding the cubic volume of the building and the height of fences (for example) that are very comprehensive. If you have a listed building, it will be more difficult for you to make changes to the property and you will need to get some very particular surveys to find out what is possible.
What about other types of building?
It may be that your building is of particular architectural interest. This can apply to modern buildings as much as ancient ones. It could also be the case that your building is of historical interest. Again, this can apply to fairly modern buildings. Even some pre-fabricated buildings can be of historical interest and so you should take care to make sure that your building is correctly designated.
What are permitted development rights?
In some areas, the central government (parliament) has given householders, and businesses, the right to make changes to their properties without going through extensive planning permission. In these areas, properties have permitted development rights. These are designed so that householders can make changes to their houses without going through all of the bureaucracy of planning permission. For example, if you wish to extend your house with a conservatory it may be that you would not need planning permission in a permitted development area.
The complication is that even in permitted development rights areas, there is often the need for planning permission. Some buildings in these areas are listed, or are of historical or architectural interest, which means that they still require these types of permissions.
What should I do next?
Now that you have read this basic guide, you should contact us, as a trusted builder, as we are able to advise you on what you need to do next. We always make sure that our clients have the best possible advice before they undertake work from us.

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