Planning Permission for Conservatories: Everything You Must Know

Adding a conservatory expands your living space and provides a fresh area for unwinding and socializing. If you’re thinking of expanding your home, you may be wondering: do conservatories need planning permission? Remember, it’s your duty to apply for permission if required, with penalties for failing to do so.

conservatory planning permission
Do Conservatories Need Planning Permission?

Planning Permission For A Conservatory

Proceeding with a conservatory installation without first checking if planning permission needs to be acquired is a high-risk strategy as it could lead to your local planning department forcing you to tear the structure down, or at the very least, order you to make expensive amendments to the design.

There’s no need to take a gamble like this as planning rules for conservatories are pretty straightforward.

No application for planning permission needs to be made when the conservatory is a ‘permitted development’ as you have an automatic right to construct it, as long as your property still has sufficient Permitted Development Rights intact to be able to do this. 

All of these limits and conditions need to be met for a conservatory to enjoy permitted development status:

  • No more than half the area of land around the “original house”* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • No extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway.
  • Single-storey rear extension must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than three metres if an attached house or by four metres if a detached house.
    In addition, outside Article 1(5) designated land* and Sites of Special Scientific Interest the limit is increased to 6m if an attached house and 8m if a detached house until 30 May 2019.
    These increased limits (between 3m and 6m and between 4m and 8m respectively) are subject to the neighbour consultation scheme. Note: Local Councils can still refuse permission on planning grounds, so the safest and quickest way to have certainty is to submit a full planning application and get approval.
  • Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension of four metres.
  • Extensions of more than one storey must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than three metres or be within seven metres of any boundary opposite the rear wall of the house.
  • Maximum eaves height of an extension within two metres of the boundary of three metres.
  • Maximum eaves and ridge height of extension no higher than existing house.
  • Side extensions to be single storey with maximum height of four metres and width no more than half that of the original house.
  • Roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey to match existing house.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • On designated land* no permitted development for rear extensions of more than one storey; no cladding of the exterior; no side extensions.

* The term “original house” means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

* Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

When a conservatory fails to fulfil any of these limits and conditions, a planning application needs to be submitted to the relevant local authority. This can be done via the Planning Portal website.

What Happens if I Fail to Get Planning Permission?

It usually takes around eight weeks to find out if a planning department has granted permission for the conservatory to be built. If the plans have been rejected unfairly in your mind, you can appeal the decision. Please also note that some structures will also require a full Building Regulations application, so it is important to get a professional installer involved who will submit the right paperwork and obtain all the necessary permissions to avoid ending up with a white elephant.

To discuss planning permission in more depth, schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable consultants.


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