The end of six years of regulation for 6 metre and 8 metre extensions to houses

6 metre extension limited until 2019

 

Unless you are lucky enough to live in the middle of nowhere, with no other properties in sight for miles, neighbours – good and bad – are a fact of life. Wild parties, early morning – and late night – DIY, and barking dogs are small fry compared with the impact a neighbour’s more extensive home alterations and improvements can have on your life, and indeed yours on theirs. we’ve provided the following guide for getting your 6 or 8 metre rear extension

Home extensions

Home extensions are the natural – and usually cheaper – alternative to moving house. The advantages of staying in the same area, with the same schools, transport links and retail and leisure options are considerable; unless they’re the impetus for change in the first place. Additionally, there’s plenty even the moderately ambitious homeowner can do without getting involved in planning application red tape, including modest single-storey extensions which are mostly covered by permitted development rights. However, starting work without checking on PD criteria isn’t advisable, especially as it can vary between local authorities, especially if you are in a conservation area. Also, getting a lawful development certificate from your council is prudent if moving house is in your medium-term plans.

Existing regulation

On 30th May 2013, a temporary period of regulation started whereby homeowners were – under permitted development – able to build larger single story extensions to the rear of their properties. The size limit for detached properties doubled from 4 to 8 metres, and from 3 to 6 for other houses. However, that temporary period is shortly coming to an end, and regulation changes again on 30th May 2019 – in other words, if you’re planning an extension you’d better get a move on. Works must be completed on, or preferably before that date, and the council needs to be notified of completion in writing too.

The Neighbours Consultation Scheme

So, back to your neighbours – after 30th May 2019, they get a say.

Theoretically, if you’re looking at a standard extension – 3 metres for a terraced or semi-detached property, and 4 metres for a detached property – you can, within reason, proceed as normal under permitted development guidelines.

However, the halcyon six-year period of building a larger extension under the same arrangement is almost at an end. Soon, you will have to:

Provide the council with a written description of your proposal, including a full plan of the location and your existing house, the addresses of any and all adjoining properties, and contact details for your developer
Wait for the council to contact your adjoining neighbours, and invite them to submit their objections – if any – within a reasonable period (usually 21 days)
In theory, this has all been in place for the past six years anyway, but the major downside of the Neighbours Consultation Scheme is that there is now an eight week wait in place before you get a definitive answer on whether you can go ahead with your building works or not.

Additionally, if one of your neighbours does object, you’re looking at building within the limits of permitted development, or not at all. Anything larger will require a full planning application, leading to further delays, and still with no guarantee of permission being granted. A neighbour objection doesn’t mean you won’t be given permission, but it’s then down to the local authority to decide whether your plans will have significant impact on the adjoining properties or not.

For example, your planned extension could affect their “right to light”, or otherwise significantly reduce the desirability – and therefore the value – of their property. Objections don’t mean refusals, but they could certainly lead to some awkward garden fence conversations for the rest of the time you are neighbours.

Conclusion

There’s no getting away from the fact that reverting to pre-2013 regulations will slow down planned home renovations considerably. However, there is one path you should take which will immediately save you eight weeks, and that’s to go straight for applying for full planning permission. If done in direct consultation with your local council, you’re immediately in with a better chance of permission being granted.