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New rules on home extensions

In May 2013, the limits for extending homes (dwellinghouses) without first needing formal planning permission changed temporarily. Any extension started under this new right must be completed by 30 May 2016.

Find out more using the links below:

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What size of extensions are permitted under the new rules?

The changes relate to adding a single storey extension to the rear of a dwellinghouse.

Between May 2013 and 30 May 2019, if the property is not listed and is not in a conservation area or a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), the following may be considered permitted development and may not require formal planning permission. They may however still need prior approval from us:

  • on detached houses, a single storey extension of up to 8 metres in length (measured from the original rear wall of the building) and less than 4 metres in height may be added subject to prior approval from us
  • on semi-detached or terraced houses, a single storey extension of up to 6 metres in length and less than 4 metres in height may be added subject to prior approval from us

It is important to note that the following requirements must also be met in order for a single storey extension to not require planning permission:

  • the property must not have had its permitted development rights removed by a condition on a previous planning permission
  • the extension cannot exceed 50% of the total area of ground around the house, within its boundary
  • the extension must not be higher than the highest part of the existing house
  • the extensions eaves cannot be higher than the eaves of the existing house
  • Any eaves within 2 metres a boundary cannot be higher than 3 metres
  • the materials used in any exterior work (other than in the case of a conservatory) must be of a similar appearance to those of the original house
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What process do I need to follow to get prior approval?

Before beginning an extension (as described above) that may benefit from the permitted development rights described above, the home owner or developer must submit the following information to us to get prior approval:

  • a written description of the proposed extension that includes the following information: how far the new extension would extend from the original rear wall of the dwellinghouse, the maximum height of the extension and the height of the eaves of the extension
  • a site plan showing the proposed extension added to the dwellinghouse
  • the addresses of any premises adjoining the site
  • the contact address of the developer (including an email address if electronic communication is acceptable to the developer)

When we receive this information, it will be checked to make sure that the proposal meets with all relevant permitted development restrictions and that the submission includes the above information. You will then be advised as to whether your proposal benefits from permitted development rights and does not require planning permission.

The application for prior approval of a proposed larger home extension form is available to download from the Planning Portal website.

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What does the local council do?

When we receive an application (as described above) we will write to the owners or occupiers of any adjoining premises to advise them of the proposed development.

This notification will include the information provided by the developer regarding the size of the extension. A copy of the notification is also sent to the developer. The persons notified have 21 days, from the date of the letter, to respond to the notification.

If no comments are received, the development may start, following receipt of a written notice from us that prior approval of the proposed extension is not required, and that no planning permission is required.

If an objection is received within the consultation period, from the owner or occupier of any adjoining premises, the homeowner/developer will require prior approval from us.

At this stage we will consider the impact of  the extension on the amenity of any adjoining premises. In order to consider the impact on amenity we can ask the homeowner/developer for further information to enable a proper consideration to take place.

We have a maximum of 21 days (following the 21 day neighbour consultation period) to consider the impact of the extension on amenity. During this period we can determine whether:

  • prior approval is granted for the proposed development
  • prior approval is refused for the proposed development

Should you receive no response from us (local planning authority) within the entire 42 day period, you may start the extension as proposed in the notification, provided that you meet all of the permitted development criteria and do not need planning  permission.

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Can I appeal a decision?

If we refuse prior approval, you have a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate using the same arrangements provided for a refusal of planning permission.

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Important additional information

  • The process cannot be applied for retrospectively. 
  • The extension that is allowed under the process described above must be completed by 30 May 2016.
  • The homeowner/developer must notify us (local planning authority), in writing, of the completion of the development as soon as possible.

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