Planning Permission For a Conservatory Or Swimming Pool Can Increase Your Home's Value

by Pool Builders on 12-22-2009 in Articles

Tapping the hidden value in your home

In an earlier article (Understanding Planning & Property Development in the UK), I looked at how to improve the value of your home by getting a better planning consent. This showed how important it is to understand the basis and operation of Town & Country Planning in the UK, so as to gain financial advantage from the 'planning rules'..

This paper we will consider how these 'rules' affect the chances of you getting planning permission for a conservatory, pool, patio or driveway.

Don't start work without one

That's right, they are all subject to the 'planning rules'. As discussed in the first article, changing the use of real estate under, over or on land requires planning permission of some sort. Then, when we looked at 'Extensions', we saw that these had to follow the policies set out in the local Development Plan made and published by all local authorities.

Most things that are incidental to the occupation of a building, including works in the garden, enclosures like tennis courts, ground works like ponds and swimming pools, and things above the ground, like saunas, kennels, pool houses, cabins, garages and so on, all have to conform. Related rules catch even satellite dishes and fuel storage tanks.

So, if you are planning a conservatory, patio, pool or driveway, unless you have a planning certificate showing that what you propose to do will be lawful, don't start work without planning permission. If you do, you could end up facing a fine or - perhaps worse - having to remove it and reinstate things to as they were before.

Check Your Local Development Plan

However, things are not always quite as bad as this blunt warning suggests. If you follow your LPA's (Local Planning Authority's) local policies and development plan, you can't go far wrong. Since 1st October 2008 this is likely to include a whole range of 'Permitted Developments' that new national rules permit after that date.

Now, providing the limits and conditions listed below are observed, you don't even need to apply to add a conservatory, since this is regarded as permitted development. However, always remember that you can't cover more than half of the land / garden that surrounded the 'original house' with the total of any extra buildings. You have to take into consideration any additional garages, cabins, sheds, etc. erected by anyone since 1947. Additionally your Conservatory (i.e. extension) must not::-

- Be in front of the front or side of the house facing a highway.
- Be higher than the uppermost part of the existing roof.
- Be more than 3 metres deep from the wall of the house if you live in a semi-detached or terraced house. If you live in a detached house this is 4 metres.
- Be higher than 4 metres.
- Have more than 1 storey of 3 metres high, including the ground floor.
- Higher than 2 metres at the eaves if it is within 3 metres of the boundary.
- Have eaves or ridge higher than the eaves or ridge of the roof on the existing house
- Be of single storey no more than 4 metres high if at the side of the house and no wider than half the original house
- A veranda, balcony or raised platform
- A roof pitch different from that of the exiting house if it is higher than one storey
- Have exterior cladding, be at the side, or be higher than 1 storey at the rear if it is on designated land.

Patios and Driveways

Since 1st October 2008 new rules have also applied to paving over front gardens. There are no restrictions over how much you can cover over with hard surface near or on the ground elsewhere. However, if you want to create an embankment, terrace or hard surface at the front, you may need to obtain planning permission.

Roof Improvements

These fall under General Building Improvements and, while you don't need planning permission to insert a roof light, ore even re-roof your house completely, you will need approval if: you intend to have -

- anything on the roof that projects more than 150 mm from the plane of the existing roof (but check for different rules in your local area for solar panel projections, especially in protected areas).

- anything higher than the existing roof

- side facing windows or any opening that is not 1700mm from the floor (such windows must have obscure glass)


Planning permission is not required for minor improvements to your outside walls, like painting, maintenance and repairs. However, you will need Listed Building consent for any significant works inside or outside if your property is listed. You must also obtain planning consent for cladding the outside, e.g. with tiles, plastic, pebble dash, render, timber, stone, artificial stone if your property is in a designated area.


Providing you don't change the appearance of your house, you don't need planning permission to fit insulation, but it is still best to check with your LPA, especially if you are in a conservation or designated area.

Doors and Windows

Apart from buildings in designated or conservation areas, you don't need planning permission to fit double-glazing, or to replace doors and windows. But do check with you landlord if you have one before going ahead.

Generality of Permitted Development

As you will gather, these 'permitted development' allowances apply to all extensions, not just Conservatories. They are also designed to try to avoid changing the front or principle appearance of the property very much, and not to adversely affect neighbouring properties. As such they give you quite good pointers for designing and submitting planning application for a different style of Conservatory (or other extension) if you feel the need to do so.

While these concessions apply to houses and bungalows, they are not available for flats and maisonettes, which fall under somewhat different planning regulations, as noted in the article on extensions. Also, if you live in a listed building or conservation area, you may need other special consents.

Meaning of Terms

"original house" is that as it was on 1st July 1948, or as it was built thereafter. Anything done by a previous owner has to be deducted from you 'permitted development' allowance. 'designated land' covers Conservation Areas, the Broads, National Parks, World Heritage Sites, and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty.

Caveats & Disclaimer

The permitted development allowances described do not apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. This article applies to planning in England. It is an introductory guide only and must note be relied on as a definitive source information. Welsh Policy may be different.

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