If you’ve decided you want to make home improvements to your property in Maidstone or Kent, you’re probably wondering whether planning permission will be required for your project. The good news is there are many home improvement projects that do not require planning permission. That being said, it is always a good idea to check with your local trusted installer before going ahead with plans, just in case.

Planning permission can be a bit of a minefield, so we’ve put together this helpful guide to help you understand the rules in preparation for your next project.

birdseye viiew of ultraframe roof

What is planning permission?

Planning permission describes a need for consent from your local authority for a proposed construction, expansion, or sometimes demolition. It’s usually required when building a new dwelling or making extensive changes to an existing one. Essentially, you are asking if you can carry out a certain piece of building work.

As a homeowner, it is your responsibility for seeking planning permission. If required, it should be granted before any work begins. That being said, by using a local and accredited installer like us, you can rest assured we will handle any planning permission concerns for you.

Who grants planning permission?

Verdicts on whether to grant planning permission are made in line with national guidance and the local planning policies set out by your local authority. For example, if you applied for planning permission with the local Maidstone Borough council, and it was approved, your approval would be in the form of a document, issued by the Council, which legally allows development at your proposed site.

What are permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights allow certain building projects to be carried out without the need for full planning application. These rights have made it much easier for homeowners to move forward with certain home improvements that would have otherwise had to undergo full planning permission, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Is planning permission required for a conservatory?

Whether a conservatory requires planning permission or not will depend entirely on your individual project specifications. The good news is, in most cases, planning permission is not necessary for conservatories because adding one to your home is usually covered under the aforementioned ‘permitted development’ rules.

It is likely your conservatory project will fall under permitted development as long as these limits and conditions are met:

  • No more than half the area of land around the original building would be covered by the conservatory.
  • The conservatory does not extend beyond the rear wall of your house by more than 8m if you have a detached house or 6m if you have a semi-detached or terrace house.
  • Your conservatory is not further forward than the front elevation or side elevation of your house that faces the road.
  • The conservatory is not higher than the highest part of the roof of your house.
  • The maximum height of the conservatory is 4m.
  • The maximum height for the eaves of the conservatory must be within 2m of the boundary of 3m.
  • The maximum eaves and ridge height of the conservatory must be no higher than the existing house.
  • If your conservatory is planned to be built on the side of your house, it must be single-storey and a maximum of 4m high with a width no more than half of the original house.
  • There are no verandas, balconies, or raised platforms in the conservatory.

Our best advice would be to contact your local trusted installer who will be able to guide you through the entire conservatory process, from initial consultation right through to finishing the build.

What is retrospective planning permission and how does it work?

As the name would suggest, retrospective planning permission refers to permission sought after you have already made changes to your home. If you have made a change to your property that requires planning permission and you have not had approval, your local authority can request that you submit a retrospective planning application for the work that you have already carried out.

Even though your local authority may ask for a retrospective planning application, it does not mean that the planning permission will automatically be granted, and the application will be treated in the usual way. If your retrospective application is refused, your local authority can issue an enforcement notice which requires you to put things back as they were.

Despite retrospective planning permission sometimes providing a fail-safe, you should always double check your plans with a trusted installer, like us here at Homebrite, who will be able to help with any planning permission concerns prior to starting your project.

What is the difference between Building Regulations and planning permission?

There’s often some confusion around the differences between Building Regulations and planning permission, but the two are very different and exist to protect different elements during a building project.

Building Regulations are standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health and safety of people in those buildings. They also include requirements to ensure that fuel and power is conserved, and facilities are provided for people, including those with disabilities, to access and move around inside buildings. The Building Regulations are made up of a set of ‘Approved Documents’, each relating to different areas of buildings, such as electrics and thermal efficiency.

Planning permission is in place to guide the way our local areas develop. This includes the use of land & buildings, the appearance of buildings, landscaping considerations, highway access, and the impact that the development will have on the general environment. Planning permission is asking the planning department of your local council whether you are allowed to carry out building work.

birdseye view of p shaped conservatory

What are Building Regulations for conservatories?

Conservatories are normally exempt from Building Regulations as long as the following criteria is met. Your local installer will be able to help make sure every element of this list is covered so that your extension is Building Regulations compliant.

  • The conservatory is built at ground level and is less than 30 square metres in floor area.
  • Glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with the applicable Building Regulations for those areas.
  • The conservatory is single storey.
  • The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows.
  • There should be an independent heating system with separate temperature and on/off controls to the house.

It is also advisable that your conservatory is not built where it could restrict ladder access to windows in roof/loft conversions, this is because it could prevent escape or rescue should there ever be an emergency, like a fire.

Another point worth noting is that any new structural opening between the conservatory and the existing house will require Building Regulations approval, even if the conservatory itself is an exempt structure. For example, a door connecting the conservatory to your lounge will need Building Regulations approval.

Home improvement products ideal for properties throughout Maidstone and Kent

No matter your home improvement vision, we are here to help bring it to life whilst navigating the red tape around planning permission so to don’t have to!

At Homebrite, we offer a whole host of double glazing products to improve homes in and around Kent. From sliding sash windows to composite doors and a wide selection of conservatories, we have something to enhance any style of property. Contact us today on 0800 677 1211 or get a free quote online.