Do I need planning permission?

Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2019 | Written by Hayward Moon

Planning regulation can be confusing and many homeowners are poorly informed. That’s why we’ve detailed what you need to do before starting your building work.

Do I need planning permission?
It’s likely you will need planning permission if you are: 

  • Building something new
  • Making significant changes to your building
  • Changing your building’s use

How far can I build without permission?
Not all extensions, for instance, require permission, providing you stick to the rules:

  • The extension cannot be any bigger than half the land around the original property
  • Your extension’s top point (roof) must be equal to or lower than the property’s existing roof
  • A single-storey rear extension cannot exceed 4m in height
  • Two-storey extensions can’t extend beyond 3m
  • Side extensions that are single-storey have a maximum height of 4m and a width no more than half the original property
  • Two-storey extensions must be further than 7m from a rear boundary
  • Any upper-floor, side-facing windows should be obscure-glazed and openings must be at least 1.7m above the floor
  • Expansions on the side or front of a property must be closer to the home than a public road

All domestic work such as loft conversions, kitchen or bathroom renovations, new plumbing and electrics and painting and decorating do not require planning permission.

Always check with your local planning authority (LPA) if you want to do anything to a listed property or you live within a Conservation Area.

What happens after you apply for planning permission?
If you do need planning permission, once you’ve completed your application the LPA will vote on whether to award you permission. Their decision is based on the design, including the external appearance; use of the development and whether you will be imposing on any neighbouring properties. A decision is usually made within 8-13 weeks after the application is submitted.


If you’re still unsure as to whether you need planning permission, contact your LPA or speak to a member of our team.

Ipswich 01473 234730
Bury St Edmunds 01284 727290
Diss 01379 646040
Cambridge 01223 236555
Colchester 01206 710717

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