Extension Planning Permission - Frequently Asked Questions

We've put this guide together for those people who are planning to extend their house and want to know how to go about getting planning permission.

We'll take a look at what is required of you as the property owner and what planning permission entails. At the end of this guide, we've also included a section listing a handful of government websites that provide more information about home extensions.

What is planning permission?

Simply put, planning permission is the granting of permission to undertake building work on a property. Permission can be either granted or refused. Bear in mind that in some cases, being allowed to build will come with several conditions attached. Please note that planning permission MUST be granted before any work begins on your extension.

Planning is the responsibility of local authorities, as given to them by the Parliament in Westminster. Therefore the planning department of your local district or borough council are your first port of call for making an application for planning permission. It is highly advisable to consult with your local planning authority and building control service before starting your project.

What are your responsibilities?

You have to follow the rules to the letter. The owner of the property/land is responsible for following the relevant planning rules and building regulations, even if there is no need for planning permission. Failure to do so will make you liable for what is known as 'remedial action', which means that your building work could be forcibly demolished and/or restored to its original state.

What factors affect planning permission?

There are several factors that affect the planning granting of planning permission, but they can be roughly grouped into five areas:

  • The Neighbours: They may be concerned about the impact your extension will have on their own property. Be sure to discuss your plans with them.
  • Design: An attractive design is obviously going to be more pleasing than an ugly one. A design that is in keeping with it's surroundings is more likely to be accepted by your neighbours and the planning authority.
  • Nature and Wildlife: Animals are protected under their own legislation (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981). You should consult with Natural England about any animals (such as bats) that will be affected by your building work.
  • Roads and Highways: You will have to consult the Highways Agency about your project if nearby roads are likely to be affected by the building work.
  • Environmental Health: If a development is likely to cause problems such as bad housing or air pollution, then environmental health officers will get involved. Planning departments will call them in if necessary.

Further reading

You can find more information on home extensions and planning permission on the following government websites:

Planning Portal

This government website is packed with information on planning advice and facts on a whole range of projects, including home extensions. There is a comprehensive section on planning permission and what it entails.

Ealing Borough Council

Ealing's local council website has an extensive planning section that takes you through the planning process step-by-step. There is also a facility for the user to make an online planning application.

This guide has hopefully provided you with enough information to get you started with planning for your home extension. If you follow the regulations, the process should be fairly smooth.