Adding an extension may be a viable solution to expand your living area without moving to another house. However, each type of extension – whether one or two storeys; front, side, or rear, or a simple addition to the roof – always needs planning permission.

Planning permission is a local authority’s approval for a planned building that is in place to discourage unwanted modifications. It’s typically required whilst constructing a brand new property or making considerable modifications to the existing one.

Planning regulations frequently require extensions to fit in with the character of the existing house rather than dominate or overshadow it. Side expansions that are not seen from the street should be set back from the front façade and placed lower than the current ridge height.

However, you have more options with rear extensions. Policies often favour extensions that blend in with the original house in terms of design, materials, and finishes. However, contrasting styles, such as a modern addition to a classic building may also work well, so don’t dispose of this method if you believe it would work for your house.

Another important planning concern is the influence of an extension on neighbors. Avoid causing a loss of light or view for them, as well as any loss of privacy from overlooking windows or gardens. Show them your creative ideas and request their support before making an application.

What factors influence the decision to grant planning permission?

The local government will make its judgment based on what are known as ‘material factors,’ which might include (but are not limited to):

  • Light loss or overshadowing
  • Breach of privacy/overlooking
  • Building layout and density
  • Design, appearance, and materials
  • Government policy
  • Accessibility for persons with disabilities
  • Development proposals
  • Preliminary planning decisions
  • Impact on listed buildings and nature reserves

Neighbours and parish councils (in England and Wales) will be consulted and allowed to comment, but only objections based on material factors will be considered.

If the neighbors do not protest and the officials suggest approval, they will normally grant planning permission for a householder application

What documents are required for a planning application?

In general, your application should include the following:

  • five copies of application forms;
  • the signed ownership certificate;
  • a plot plan, block plan, profiles of both the current and prospective plots;
  • a Design and Access Statement;
  • the application fee.

These documents must support all planning applications, however, the level of detail is determined by the scope of the project and its sensitivity.

What reports should I submit alongside the planning application?
Your planning application may have to be supported by several different reports outlining how certain aspects of the scheme will be addressed.

Furthermore, where the project may be deemed problematic, you should include a planning statement that discusses how the scheme conforms with national and local regulations, as well as a design statement that fleshes out the scheme’s reasoning. Providing these papers will significantly increase your chances of success.

Planning Application fees
Fees must be paid as soon as you submit your application. Most councils provide a web-based payment option, or you may do this over the phone. Any delay in payment will cause the decision date to be postponed.