Planning Permission

Our sympathetic approach to combining old buildings with modern needs means that Hibbs & Walsh Associates frequently succeed in obtaining difficult planning permissions associated with listed buildings and projects in conservation areas.

What is planning permission?

Your local planning authority (usually the district or borough council) is responsible for deciding whether a proposed development should be allowed to go ahead, and for granting planning permission. Planning permission is required for almost all building works, not just for new houses. Planning permission is usually required for anyone intending to extend or alter their home, or to construct outbuildings (sometimes including swimming pools and tennis courts) in the garden. If your house is in a designated Conservation Area, a planning application will have to be made for even minor changes to your house.

Most applications for work to a private house will require a Householder Application, for which a relatively modest fee is payable to the Local Authority. New buildings, major alterations to existing buildings and significant changes to the use of a building or piece of land may need Full Planning Consent, and an application fee will be payable to the Local Authority. There is no VAT charged on Planning Application fees.

If the Local Authority has imposed conditions on your planning permission, you will have to make an application for the conditions to be discharged. This will incur a fee. You can apply for the discharge of more than one condition at the same time. A further fee is payable to the Local Authority for each application.

What is Listed Building Consent?

If the planned work is in a designated Conservation Area or if the building is listed, an application for Listed Building Consent will have to be made. The Local Authority does not charge an application fee for Listed Building Consent.

What is Permitted Development?

You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called permitted development rights, and include for example maintenance, improvements or alterations which affect only the interior of a building or which do not materially affect its external appearance. Some small extensions may not need planning permission either.

Permitted development rights differ for different types of building, and are usually restricted in Conservation Areas. Listed buildings will have had their permitted development rights removed, and all alterations, inside and out, will need Listed Building Consent. Permitted development rights can be withdrawn for a number of reasons, and if a building has been extended in the past, the permitted development rights might have been used up.

There are many things to consider when planning a project that depends on permitted development rights, because the rules are complicated and changeable, and the work must conform strictly to the current criteria. The Government’s Planning Portal web site, www.planningportal.co.uk, has a lot of very useful advice.

Generally speaking it makes sense to check with the Local Authority. It is possible to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate, and pay the appropriate application fee, to obtain confirmation that the work is permitted.