Do You Need Planning Permission for a Conservatory?

It’s a question that is often debated, do you need planning permission for a conservatory? You may have already asked friends or family this and been given different answers from each. In truth, there isn’t a simple yes or no answer. Did you know that DIY conservatories are conservatories that you build yourself? Self-build conservatories start at around £700 and don’t require the use of a builder to get them up.

Use the menu below to jump to a relevant section:

  • When Must You Apply for Planning Permission?

  • Can You Avoid The Planning Permission Process?

  • How Can Permitted Development Rules Impact You?

  • Are You In a Conservation Area or Listed Building?

  • How to Apply for Planning Permission

Planning permission requirements are not always black and white and when trying to find out if you do need planning permission for a conservatory, you need to take several elements into account. The short answer is no, you don’t need planning permission for a conservatory, as long as none of the stipulations we will outline apply to you. 

Before adding any form of an extension to your home, you need to check if you need to obtain planning permission.

As someone who is planning to build a conservatory, you’d already know that the decision to extend your property doesn’t depend on your own will. You need to go through the whole process of planning permission to ensure you don’t end up on the wrong side of the law. 

There are some who might suggest you build one without seeking permission and try the retrospective planning permission. But this path is fraught with danger as the authorities have the right to tear down any illegal structure and your legal options in such cases are limited. 

Not all conservatories need to go through the process of planning permission and smaller extensions are often covered under what is known as the ‘permitted development rules’. 

There are several questions that would be crossing your mind at the moment such as – what size conservatory without planning permission, or how do I apply for planning permission etc. Here we shall answer all the questions you have in mind. 

When Must You Apply for Planning Permission?

The moment you think of adding a conservatory to your home the first question to strike your mind would be – do I need planning permission for a conservatory? The answer is both ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ as the need for planning permission solely depends on the specifications of the conservatory you are planning to build. 

In most cases you won’t need to apply for planning permission as adding one to your home would be covered under the Permitted Development Rules as we have already mentioned above.

But these rules are conditional and there are instances when you will need to apply for permission to build a conservatory on your property. This brings us to another question – when do you need planning permission for a conservatory? 

According to the latest regulations you will need to obtain planning permission if you are planning to – 

  • Add more than 6 metres to your terraced or semi-detached home 
  • Add more than 8 metres to your detached house 
  • The conservatory you are planning to build is more than 30 square metres 
  • You are planning to build a toilet in the conservatory or installing a sink 

Can You Avoid The Planning Permission Process?

If you are one who is looking to build a conservatory within the limits of the permitted development rules you might ask – how big can a conservatory be without planning permission? 

It is perhaps the best time to build a conservatory as the rules have been relaxed and this means in most cases you don’t need to knock on the doors of the authorities to build one. 

Since May 2019, the rules governing conservatory development in the United Kingdom have been further relaxed and most homeowners in the UK are permitted to build a conservatory in their home without having to go through the planning permission process. You can calculate the cost of a conservatory here.

As per the latest guidelines issued you won’t need to seek Planning Permission in the following cases –  

  • The maximum height of the structure is 4 metres or 3 metres in case it is within 2 metres of the boundary
  • The planned conservatory doesn’t cover more than half of your garden or empty space
  • The topmost point for the conservatory or what is known as the roof ridge isn’t taller than the roof of your existing property

How Can Permitted Development Rules Impact You?

Permitted Development Rules are meant to help property owners bypass the planning permission process for small constructions and developments in their property. 

However specific limitations have to be kept in mind and certain conditions met with before you can expertise these rights to add a conservatory or any other structure to your property. 

Let us take you through some of the limitations you need to be aware of before you proceed with your conservatory – 

  • The proposed conservatory’s sides don’t extend beyond the width of your existing structure. 
  • Your conservatory doesn’t face a highway on its principal side or side elevation 
  • For single-storey rear extension conservatory, the structure mustn’t extend beyond the property’s original rear wall
  • The glazing and electrical installations in the planned structure follow the compliance requirements of the building regulations.

Are You In a Conservation Area or Listed Building?

While we have given you a broad idea about how big can you build a conservatory without planning permission or when do you need planning permission for a conservatory there are cases when these general rules may not be applicable. 

If you own a listed building or have your property within a Conservation Area you will need to seek prior approval. Properties in Conservation Areas and those around National Parks are subject to Article 4 Directions. 

This direction is meant to ensure that an individual property owner doesn’t cause irreparable damage to heritage sites and national parks while undertaking development projects within their own property. 

While this direction doesn’t prevent you from building a conservatory in your property, it does restrict you from taking up a project that isn’t in sync with the aesthetics of the existing structure. 

You may not have complete freedom on the size and other elements of your conservatory. For instance, if the glazing and frames in the existing property are of a certain type you might not get approval to add something that isn’t in harmony with the old structure. 

In such circumstances, you must work with an architect who has in the past built conservatories within Conservation Area or near National Parks as they would have a clear idea on what is likely to be accepted by the local planning authority and what might be turned down. 

How to Apply for Planning Permission

In most cases, as we have established above you won’t need to apply for planning permission to build a conservatory and your planned project would be under the permitted development rights. 

In case you are planning to build one that is large, taller than your existing property or doesn’t meet one of the many criteria set under the permitted development rights you need to apply for planning permission. 

You may have already heard from your friends about bad experiences they have had while applying for planning permission with the local council’s Planning Department with respect to development on their property. However, you should be rest-assured if you approach the whole process meticulously you won’t get stuck in red tape. 

One of the first things you need to do is get in touch with a licensed architect. As with any kind of planning permission, the success of the whole process rests on documentation that you submit to the local authorities along with your application. 

You will need to submit architectural drawings of the planned project to reassure them of the compliance. A professional architect would make sure that the project adheres to the local building codes and in no way violates any of its clauses. 

If your proposed construction receives a go-ahead from the Planning Department you will need to pay the fee that covers their administrative costs. This fee is usually charged based on the size and scale of your project and varies among different local councils in the United Kingdom. 

Once you are done with this you can get started with the project and add a distinctive look and feel to your property and build a space where you can spend some quality time with your family while embracing the beautiful scenery from the large windows and glass roofs. You may also explore the option of applying for a Lawful Development Certificate. 

While this isn’t a must this certificate confirms that the project being undertaken (or already undertaken) had adhered to the legal requirements during the time of construction. This is also a huge incentive for the future buyer and can add to the value of your property. 

Final Thoughts

We have given you basic idea things you need to know about planning permission for a conservatory. 

As a layman, you may still have several questions and doubts in your mind with respect to planning permission specific to your planned project. This is where it is important to get in touch with experts with whom you can discuss your ideas and work that complies with the local development guidelines. The more time you spend in the research and consultation phase, fewer obstacles you are likely to come across at the latter stage.

There isn’t a better way to remodel your home and add to the living space than building a conservatory. It is easier on your pocket and shall add more curb appeal to your home than any other idea that you can think of.