The good news is that planning rules have been considerably relaxed in recent years and it’s probably unlikely that the changes you are considering will actually ever have to be considered. However, you must make the effort to find out for sure, otherwise ignoring the regulations will prove extremely costly further down the construction road. It’s probably very likely that you will be using a good architect like architects London and they will probably be able to say straight away whether the planning permission regulations are going to affect what you want to do.
Situations that are likely to require planning permission include when you want to build an entirely new building, modify an existing structure or change the use of the land that you have to something entirely different. Even in these situations, planning permission is considerably relaxed and small projects like conservatories and sheds normally do not require planning permission and the same goes for most conversions like loft conversions and kitchen extensions.
The main trouble occurs when you deliberately do not apply for planning permission with the intent to deceive the council planning department in full knowledge that you do in fact require permission. Hence, as has already been mentioned above, make sure you double check before construction begins. If you or the builders or architects are not absolutely sure go along to the planning department at the local authority offices and find out for yourself. You normally have to fill in a form with details of what it is that you want to do and wait for a decision or response from the department. There are quite substantial fines if you go ahead and ignore planning permission.
The following are the situations in which planning permission is almost certainly required.
If your building is on a list of buildings that have significant heritage value or your house is in an area where such buildings are close to yours then it is likely you will need to seek permission to make any external modifications. The permission in this instance is called a “listed building consent”, which is a little different from ordinary planning permission.
If your house is in a conservation area it is likely that you know that it is. The conservation value might be natural or historical or both, but if your house is there you will definitely need permission to make any obvious external alterations which affect its appearance.
Planning permission will also be required if the alteration, extension or modifications significantly intrude on the privacy or feelings of members of the public who happen to be able to use aright of way – a major road or just a footpath which passes your house. This means that if they can see something which might offend them which they wouldn’t have had to do before hand then you would need permission to make that alteration. The same goes for the effects of your modifications on your neighbours.
Finally, it cannot be stressed enough that you face serious consequence sif you ignore planning permission knowingly and face fines and / or the demolition of your new building. Having said all that, though, the actual chance that you will ever have to worry about seeking permission is normally very small.