Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?

Named as one of the top smart renovations that actually adds value to your home, the conservatory is thought to increase the sale price of a property by five per cent, on average. So, do you need planning permission for a conservatory?

The same planning rules relating to any house extension apply when adding a conservatory to your house — something that may interest you if you can’t decide between an extension or conservatory. In a lot of cases, planning permission is NOT necessary for a conservatory as adding one to your home can be allowed under ‘permitted development’ rules – but this is subject to certain conditions.

We always recommend checking with your local authority whether you need planning permission for your conservatory before the construction process begins.

How do Permitted Development rules apply to planning permission for a conservatory?

On 25 May 2019, the Government officially relaxed its permitted development rights to allow homeowners in England to build larger extensions (including conservatories) without planning permission. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) confirms:

  • Terraced and semi-detached homes can make additions up to 6m without planning permission.
  • Detached houses can now add large structures up to 8m without planning permission.
  • Subject to:
    • A maximum height of 4m high or 3m high (if within 2m of a boundary).
    • The conservatory does not cover more than half the garden.
    • The roof ridge or top point is not higher than the eaves of a property’s roof.
    • Side extensions do not extend beyond half the width of the house.

However, be aware that the above relates to non-designated land* and is subject to prior approval of the Local Planning Authority. Take a look at our eBook on Permitted Development Rights for further information.

*The term ‘designated land’ includes National Parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

According to the  Regulations, an extension, such as a conservatory, can be built under ‘permitted development’ if it confirms with the above and is:

  • No more than half the area of land around the original house* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • Extensions of more than one storey must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than 3m or be within 7m of any boundary opposite the rear wall of the house.
  • A single-storey rear extension does not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than 8m if a detached house or 6m if an attached house.
  • No extension is further forward than the principal elevation or side elevation which fronts a highway.
  • No extension is higher than the highest part of the roof of the original house*.
  • The maximum height of the single-storey rear extension is 4m.
  • The maximum height for the eaves of an extension must be within 2m of the boundary of 3m.
  • The maximum eaves and ridge height of an extension must be no higher than existing house.
  • A side extension is single storey and a maximum height of 4m and width no more than half that of the original house*
  • The roof pitch of an extension higher than one storey matches the existing house.
  • There are no verandas, balconies or raised platforms.

*The term ‘original house’ means the property as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 if it was built before that date. Even if you have not built an extension to the house, you may need to check in case a previous owner has done so.

What is Prior Approval?

In the UK, there are certain types of extensions or alterations that can be made to properties without seeking express planning permission. These are known as permitted development rights.  As mentioned above for larger extensions in non-designated areas Prior Approval is required to be sought in advance of carried out the works.  We’ve produced a article covering the 7 things you need to know about the prior approval processto help you.

When might you need planning permission to build a conservatory?

If your conservatory or extension does not comply with the above criteria, you will require planning permission.

A local planning authority can also remove some of your permitted development rights by issuing an ‘Article 4’ Direction. This will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one. Article 4 Directions are made when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. It is likely this will occur in conservation areas. It is worth checking with the local planning authority if you are not sure what permitted development rights you have.

Planning permissions can remove permitted development rights through the imposition of a condition on an approval. For instance on new housing estates where gardens may be limited, permitted development rights may be removed for extensions, conservatories etc. It is worth checking with the local planning authority if you are not sure what conditions are attached to the building you are working on.

If an Article 4 Direction is in place or a condition restricts development, this does not necessarily mean you will not be able to progress your project, however you will need to go through the planning application process. The application will be assessed against the development plan and other material planning considerations

Do I Need a Lawful Development Certificate for My Conservatory?

While you don’t have to have a lawful development certificate to build a conservatory, many people do choose to get one — they can be invaluable when building using permitted development rights.

A lawful development certificate (LDC) will prove that your new conservatory has been built legally — it can be shown to your local authority and future buyers should planning rules change down the line. Our Practical Guide to Certificate of Lawful Proposed Use or Development (CLPUD) provides more information on this.

You will need to apply for one in a similar way to planning permission, submitting plans and elevations and the like, and pay a relevant fee.

Other things to consider when planning a conservatory

Building Regulation approval. Most conservatories do not require Building Regulation consent, however there are exceptions to this and we advise you speak to the Local Building Control Team to ascertain if approval is required.

Water board authority approval. If you intend to build on or within three metres of a public sewer, you must get permission from the regional water board authority, but this is normally a formality. Once your conservatory installation is complete, a local building control officer will inspect it to ensure no damage has been done to the sewer.

Listed buildings. Works that affect Listed Buildings often require Listed Building Consent.  This process is separate to planning permission.

Restrictive covenants. Some properties are built with restrictive covenants on them, a private agreement in the title deeds which outlines ways in which they may and may not be used or developed. You may require covenant consent before you process with any development.

Party wall approval. In England and Wales, obtaining a ‘party wall agreement’ can sometimes be necessary before building a new conservatory. This is usually required when you intend to excavate near to a neighbouring property to lay foundations. Before making any changes on or near a boundary that separates two properties, you must notify your neighbour in writing at least 2 months in advance regarding the construction.

Whilst planning permission is in a lot of cases not required to build a conservatory, we strongly recommend you seek advice from your local authority before any work commences. This will give you peace of mind and potentially save you a significant expense further down the line.

You don’t always need a town planner, If you’re not sure if you need help from a Town Planner take a look at blog on When to Hire a Town Planner our download a Guide on How to Choose a Town Planner and if you do need some assistance with your development proposal, CONTACT US.

Related Content

You might find our eBook  The Basics of Permitted Development and Use Class useful.

If you are thinking about building a conservatory, you might also be thinking of installing solar panels? If so, check out our article Do you need planning permission to install solar panels.

do you need planning permission to build a conservatory