There are many advantages to getting a conservatory. As an extra room, they are versatile and adaptable, and can be enjoyed throughout the year. As well as adding value to your home, a conservatory is for many people a more affordable option when it comes to getting a home extended. Conservatory prices vary according to size and style, but on the whole, the nature of these extensions, with predominantly glass walls and ceilings, means that they are not as expensive or time consuming to construct as a typical house extension. As with any such project the question of planning permission arises. As a potentially expensive and time-consuming process, it is advantageous to avoid planning permission, if at all possible. Here is a guide to the question of conservatories and planning permission.
Do conservatories need planning permission?
Planning authorities place conservatories in the same category as house extensions and other additions to a property, and the good news is that in the vast majority of cases, these are considered to be permitted developments (PD), which means that they don't need planning permission. Conservatories are also exempt from Building Regulations in most cases, which makes them an even more convenient choice of house extension. There are exceptions to both the planning permission and building regulations exemptions, and these are outlined below.
There are a few conditions under which a conservatory is not considered PD, which means that if you want to add a conservatory to your home, you will need to get planning permission. If your property is within designated land (for example, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a World Heritage Site or National Park), any conservatory which has stone cladding, pebble dash, plastic or tiles is not PD, and nor is a conservatory which extends from a side wall. As with house extensions, a conservatory cannot take up more than 50% of the house’s curtilage to be PD, and cannot be forward of the house’s principal elevation and fronting a highway. There are also regulations about the height a conservatory can be in order to be PD. Four metres is the maximum for a single story rear conservatory. Most conservatory designs fall well within the size constraints of permitted development, so all in all, provided your property is not within designated land and you want the conservatory to go in your back garden, there is no need for you to get planning permission.
Conservatories are exempt from building regulations providing they meet the following criteria. The conservatory should be less than 30 metres square in floor area, and separated from the house by an external wall, doors and windows. There should be an independent heating system, which has separate temperature and on/off controls, and the windows and any electrical installation need to comply with applicable building regulations. It is also advised that the conservatory should not restrict ladder access to the windows of loft or roof conversions, in case of a fire.
For more detailed information about planning permission and building regulations for conservatories, check the governments Planning Portal website. www.planningportal.gov.uk
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