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The Loft Conversion Authority

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Home Knowledge base How to's What about Planning Permission?
What about Planning Permission ?
The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No. 2) (England) Order 2008

In October 2008, planning laws were relaxed and all houses have now got separate permitted development rights for the roof space. This new rule does not apply for flats, some new houses, properties within conservation areas and all listed buildings. Also some dwellings have specifically had their permitted development rights removed by the local authority, under an Article 4 direction. If you are not sure whether your dwelling is affected by one of the above, give your local authority a call to check. It would also be prudent to check if any restrictive covenants apply to your house, these are restrictions placed upon your house by either the builders or local planning dept when you house was first constructed. It may place obligations or restrictions upon yourselves, details can be found on the deeds or again by contacting your local authority.

The rules that apply if your loft is to fall within permitted development, can be briefly summerised as follows:-

1. No part of the dwellinghouse would, as a result of the works, exceed the height of the highest part of the existing roof;
2. No part of the dwellinghouse would, as a result of the works, extend beyond the plane of any existing roof slope which forms the principal elevation of the dwellinghouse and fronts a highway;
3. The cubic content of the resulting roof space would exceed the cubic content of the original roof space by more than :-
(a) 40 cubic metres in the case of a terrace house, or
(b) 50 cubic metres in any other case;
4. The development would include the construction or provision of a veranda, balcony or raised platform, or
5. The dwellinghouse is in a conservation area

There are some further conditions that apply to the above where development is permitted by Class B subject to the following:-

The materials used in any exterior work shall be of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse, apart from the case of a hip-to-gable enlargement, the edge of dormers shall, so far as practicable, be not less than 20 centimetres from the eaves of the original roof, and any window inserted on a wall or roof slope forming a side elevation of the dwellinghouse shall be glazed in obscure-glazed, and be non-opening unless the parts of the window which can be opened are more than 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which the window is installed.

Econoloft can offer to make an application for a certificate of lawful development if a client so wishes, this can give our clients further piece of mind, and future assistance if they ever wish to sell their house at a later date, when such a document may be requested.

If your proposals do not fall within the above categories, this does not mean you cannot have your conversion, but you would require Planning Permission.
Your local authority may well have published guidelines as to what is, and what is not acceptable when considering a loft conversion. It could be in your best interest to discuss your proposal informally with your planning department so as not to waste time and money upon unrealistic proposals.
Just because other dwellings within your locality have loft conversions does not automatically mean you will be granted permission, it may be that they were constructed as permitted development, but the design being contrary to council policy.

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