If you are going to build an extension or make other changes to your house,
you may need planning permission. Generally minor changes such as those listed
below do not need planning permission but you should always make
absolutely certain that you don't need planning permission before you
start building. Failure to obtain planning permission where it is required can
result in penalties, (for example, significant fines or even imprisonment).
Your local authority will be able to advise you about this.
Generally, you will not need planning permission for:
- Building an extension to the rear of the house which does not increase
the original floor area of the house by more than 40 square metres and is
not higher than the house. The extension should not reduce the open space
at the back of the house to less than 25 square metres which must be
reserved exclusively for the use of the occupants of your house. If your
house has been extended before, the floor area of the extension you are now
proposing and the floor area of any previous extension (including those for
which you previously got planning permission) must not exceed 40 square
metres. (There are also other height restrictions.)
- Converting a garage attached to the rear or side of the house to domestic
use provided it has a floor area of less than 40 square metres. Building a
garage at the back or side of a house so long as it does not extend out in
front of the building line of the house and does not exceed 4 metres in
height (if it has a tiled/slated pitched roof) or three metres (if it has
any other roof type). This building will be exempt from planning permission
once the floor area is limited to 25 square metres. Garages or sheds to the
side of the house must match the finish of the house and may not be lived
in, used for commercial purposes or for keeping pigs, poultry, pigeons,
ponies or horses.
- Building a front porch so long as it does not exceed 2 square metres in
area and is more than 2 metres from a public road or footpath. If the porch
has a tiled or slated pitched roof, it must not exceed 4 metres in height
or 3 metres for any other type of roof.
- Capped walls made of brick, stone or block, wooden fences but not
security fences can be erected as long as they do not exceed 1.2 metres in
height or two metres at the side or rear. Gates may be built provided they
do not exceed 2 metres in height. Permission is always required to if you
wish to widen or create new access to the public road.
- A central heating system chimney, boiler house or oil storage tank (up to
3,500 litres capacity).
- Car parking spaces, garden paths etc
- A TV aerial on the roof so long as it is less than 6 metres higher than
- A satellite dish (up to 1 metre in diameter, and no higher than the top
of the roof) at the back or side of the house (a dish on the front needs
planning permission). Only one dish may be erected on a house.
These are guidelines only; it is most important to check with your local
authority before starting to make any changes.
Planning permission for "material change of use"
If you want to make a material (that is, substantial) change to the use of
land or buildings which will have an actual or potential impact on neighbours
or the local community, then you will need planning permission.
For example, you will need planning permission if you propose to:
- Convert your garage into a workshop for business use
- Establish a creche
- Open a bed and breakfast with more than 4 guest bedrooms
For more information on applying for planning permission and the different
types of planning permission, see our document, Planning permission.