Hazlemere’s step by step conservatory buyer’s guide (1)

(week one)

Buying a conservatory is a major investment which, like all such purchases, needs to be comprehensively researched and considered with care. Whatever it is you want to use your conservatory for, getting the right conservatory will transform your home and ultimately add value to your property.

So, with this is mind we want to share our bespoke conservatory buyers guide so you can buy the conservatory of your dreams — with confidence and peace of mind. Our no-nonsense guide will enable you to evaluate, compare and hopefully find the right conservatory that compliments your home.

Although you can download our buyers guide in its entirety from the Hazlemere website, we’ve decided to break it down into digestible sections for you. Once a week we will provide you with the key advice and benefits of introducing a beautiful and practical conservatory to your property. Our aim is very simple: to turn what could be a potential headache into an altogether more pleasurable experience!

This week we’ll be focusing on Planning Permission and Conservation Awareness, which at times can be complex and intimidating.

Bucks Hazlemere Aluminium Conservatory Installation In Final Construction Phase
Hazlemere Aluminium Conservatory Installation In Final Construction Phase
Planning Permission

Ultimately it is your responsibility to seek planning permission. If planning permission is required, it must be applied for by you or your installer and granted before any work begins. If you don’t get the right permissions you risk being told to remove your conservatory at your cost.

Whether or not you need planning permission for a conservatory depends on the size of it in relation to your home; whether your home has been previously extended (up to its ‘Permitted Development Rights’) and whether it is a listed building, in a Conservation Area, a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

If the conservatory alters the shape of your existing house and roof then you may also need additional planning permission. It is worth noting that many new housing developments do not have any ‘Permitted Development Rights’ at all. It is strongly advisable to obtain a ‘Certificate of Lawful Proposed Development’ from your Local Authority, as in the vast majority of cases one or planning permission is required.

This is invaluable if you ever try to sell your home and need to prove whether you had permission to build your conservatory. Reputable conservatory companies will help you through the planning process, even submitting the plans and dealing with enquiries on your behalf. Always ensure you see the final written planning permission before you allow work to begin.

The second half of the planning process is ensuring that your extension complies with Building Regulations. Most conservatories will actually be exempt from Building Regulations if certain ‘Exemption Criteria’ are met with regards to its design i.e. it has a completely transparent or translucent roof; predominantly glazed wall areas; the floor area doesn’t exceed 30 square metres and it is at ground level.

The most critical of these considerations is whether the conservatory will be separated from the main house by a door. If you plan to have the conservatory totally open to the rest of the house then you will need to abide by the building regulations. Again, the best source of advice is a reputable supplier but if you are in any doubt then ensure your plans are shown to your local council before work begins and any necessary consent obtained in writing.

Concerning Conservation

It is worth bearing in mind that in some areas of the UK, planning controls have prevented homeowners from installing a conservatory completely. However, even in very conservation minded areas, if the conservatory is carefully designed and sympathetic to the building and the area it is located in, it is possible for planning objections to be overcome – it always pays to talk directly with the planners in your area to find out what their objections actually are and to establish what they might consider acceptable. You may have to jump through hoops to get permission and it may take some time, but persevering with your plans can work.

See our full conservatory buyer’s guide for advice on choosing a conservatory, the many styles available, the pros and the cons of different materials and how planning law applies to glass conservatories.

Next week: Aesthetics and Construction


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