Often the thought of having to go through the planning process is quite intimidating for those of you that have never had any experience of it, however a lot of low level development does not require permission under the permitted development rules.

Where it is required we would normally take care of the whole process as part of the order including drawings & fees so apart from typically a 10 week delay no effort is needed on your part.

Naturally we will advise during the design stage what the most appropriate solution is given that planning is a factor to give the project the best chance of approval.


Our experience is that low rise buildings (under 4m in height) positioned at the rear of a property are generally approved without any issues arising and overall the number of applications approved across all local authorities is in the range of 80%+ so this should not be seen as a major hurdle to be overcome.

We would suggest a visit to the government website the Planning Portal which is excellent for simple guidance. The interactive house covers the basics for the novice:

For the majority of properties the rules under permitted development rights (PDR) apply. These were revised on 1st October 2008 in order to simplify the process.

However some home owners will be subject to restrictions within Green Belt, conservation areas, property listings (Grade II), new developments where covenants have been registered, and therefore PDR withdrawn.

The rules are based on the ‘original’ dwelling which is deemed to be as it was first built or as it stood on 1st July 1948. Development to the front of a property (facing a highway) will always require planning permission.

Currently a conservatory is exempt for the purposes of building control being classified as a ‘temporary structure’ subject to meeting the criteria listed below. This has created a grey area within the industry allowing companies to determine their own standards and construction methods with no accountability for the work carried out unless the customer has a good knowledge of building practices. Our policy is to adopt a ‘belt & braces’ approach virtually adopting the building code as our bench mark even though it is not required ensuring best practice at all times.

The above planning rules (2008) were amended in 2013 remaining a temporary scheme up to May 2019, extending the permitted development rights (PDR) from 3m to 6m (semidetached) and 4m to 8m (detached) subject to the qualifying terms of the new scheme whereby a Planning Notification is required to inform neighbours and the local authority of your intentions but only when exceeding the standard PDR limits of 3m & 4m. This simplified application process incurs no fees, and a notification document is prepared and submitted by us. Under the scheme the government requires that the procedure is dealt with within 42 days by the local authority planning department. Failure to meet this deadline means work can commence without approval. The Neighbour Consultation Scheme was made permanent by government, removing its temporary status from June 2019 to become an ongoing part of the planning system.

The Exemption Rules

Must be built at ground level

At least 75% of the roof must be constructed in a translucent material (glass or polycarbonate) not tiled or solid.

At least 50% of the wall area that will form the external boundary or edge of the conservatory must be glazed with the exception of a designated fire wall.

The buildings footprint must not exceed 30m² in area.

A permanent physical barrier must be maintained between the conservatory and dwelling (exterior quality doors/windows).

Heating must be independent of the dwelling e.g. central heating radiators must not be installed within the conservatory.

Glazing and the electrical installation must comply with IEE and building regulations.

Reading Map
Engineering Plans
Renovations in Progress
Electrical Construction Plans