Conservatories are one of the most popular extensions homeowners like to add to their homes. They're pretty to look at, functional, and they add a bit of value to your property. They are also one of the less expensive (but still costly) extensions.
There is a lot of misinformation about whether conservatories require planning permission, so we'll do our best to answer this question clearly. The short answer is: not really.
It's okay if you're confused. Conservatories are a type of extension that fall under your 'permitted development rights' - provided that they meet certain criteria.
No you do not need planning permission for a conservatory as long it meets certain criteria. You are within your permitted development rights to build a conservatory if it:
Permitted development rights are a set of planning rules that let you extend your house without needing to apply for planning permission. As long as you meet the standards set by these rules, you can build a conservatory without seeking consent from your council. There are, however, notable exceptions for what we call Article 2(3) designated land.
Article 2(3) designated land means land within areas of natural or historical significance, or both. This could include land within:
Any area that's managed in order to protect its architectural and historical value. England has over 10,000 conservation areas, while Scotland has around 600.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is land protected by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act). Unlike a national park, an AONB doesn't have its own planning powers.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for example, has the power to award areas conservation status.
A World Heritage Site is a natural or man-made structure or area that's been awarded protected status by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).
The Broads are a series of man-made inland waterways located in East Anglia, Norfolk. They were designated as a World Heritage Site in 1976.
A National Park is a park in use for conservation purposes that is also protected by the UK government. There are over 10 of these in England.
Now we know about Article 2(3) Designated Land, let's take a look at your permitted development rights. As long as you're not in a Article 2(3) Designated area, you're allowed to build a conservatory without planning permission, as long as it meets the following criteria:
The term 'original house' refers to the house or dwelling as it stood on 1st July 1948 (if it was built before this date). This also includes any extensions that were built before this date.
For example, if you live in a standard semi-detached house in a city suburb, there is a good chance your house will have a back garden. If you decide to add a conservatory, it should not cover more than half of this area. This means if you have another existing extension, like a shed, you might need to remove it in order to increase the amount of space you're allowed to build in.
To put it simply, your conservatory should be smaller than your house. This rule refers to the roof of your house, and its eaves (the part of the roof that hangs over the side of the house).
Again, conservatories shouldn't impede on anyone else's space. This is another guideline to restrict your property's size and infringement on land that you don't own.
Any conservatory that is closer in distance to footpaths or pavement requires planning permission.
Any extensions or accessories that could potentially infringe on your neighbour's privacy. Balconies, raised platforms, verandas are just some of the extensions that require planning permission. Microwave antenni, chimneys and roof alterations also require planning permission.
It should have a maximum height of 4 metres, consist of a single storey, and be half the width of the original house.
If you own a detached house, you'll generally have more space to build extensions on. Semi-detached or terraced homes have less space for extensions, as they are attached to neighbouring properties.
According to eHow, the average UK new build has a ceiling height of 2.4 metres. You probably won't have trouble meeting this requirement, as most conservatories conform to the height of the room they're connected to. As conservatories are restricted by the size of their eaves-to-boundary height, many standard conservatories have a sloping roof.
There are several types of extension that require planning permission no matter what.
All side extensions with more than 1 storey require planning permission
On Article 2(3) designated land, any side extensions need planning permission.
On Article 2(3) designated land, any rear extensions with more than 1 story require planning permission.
If you're not on Article 2(3) designated land, you can increase the size of your rear extension to 8 metres if you're living in a detached house, or 6 metres if you're living in another house. However, you will require planning permission.
As a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, planning permission has been difficult to obtain. Now, as we slowly return to normality, some form of regularity has been restored to planning permission applications. Most people will find out if their application has been accepted after 8 weeks, though more complex development plans have a significantly longer wait.
Planning permission applications are difficult by nature. Not only do the relevant governing bodies, like the Environment Agency, need to be consulted, but your neighbours will be invited to view your plans through a neighbour consultation scheme. This is because extensions need to not only reflect local guidelines, but uphold the privacy of your neighbours.
Conservatories are a mid-tier extension. They are expensive, but not nearly as expensive as some other extensions, like a loft conversion.
So how much can you expect to pay for a conservatory in the UK?
According to Towergate Insurance, you can expect to pay at least £7000 for a conservatory. However, according to data from DIY website Homehow.co.uk, a conservatory can cost as as little as £5000, or as expensive as £75,000. While below £10,000, both minimum rates aren't exactly cheap, but their potential value (both monetary and practical) can be extremely rewarding.
The average cost of planning permission for a conservatory is £206. However, for a new build property, a conservatory will cost £462 based on data from the PropertyPortal's official guidelines. The cost of planning permission in England can vary depending on the type of extension you want to build. As we're interested in conservatories, this type of extension will fall under a householder application for a single dwelling.
It usually is worth adding a conservatory, especially if you're planning on living in your home for a number of years. Not only will a conservatory provide more living space, but its general practicality is what you make of it:
Yes, In 2017, Towergate Insurance conducted a study on home improvements, and found that conservatories can add up to 5% to the value of a property. Meanwhile property guru, Phil Spencer, once claimed in an interview with The Telegraph, that conservatories can add up to 7% of your home's value. Adding square footage is a sure way to increase the value of your home, however, you will lose garden space, which might have an adverse effect on your property's value.
Even if we were to go with Towergate Insurance's lower figure of 5%, the average UK home sold at £250,772 (House Prices Index April 2021) would still see an increase of over £12,538.60 in value. This means that a £5000 conservatory could theoretically allow for a £7538.60 return, should you decide to sell your home further down the line.
If you want to know more about your home's value, we offer a free house valuation tool on our site. It's great for a basic indication of your home's worth, and provides advice about the best renovations for your home, including conservatories.
If you're thinking of building a conservatory to just boost your home's market value pre-sale, it might not be in your best interest to do so. Marketing your property during the build process can be incredibly disruptive, and the fact you might need to apply for planning permission (depending on your property type), could further complicate matters. This means it's much less likely you'll see a good return on investment if you build this extension right before you sell.
If you are thinking about selling your home, our free agent comparison tool complies the latest hard data from the Land Registry to rank your best local estate agents. A valuation from a local estate agent is always worthwhile because they take into account all the little things that make your house a home. Most importantly, our comparison tool will help you locate agents that are not only familiar with your property type and postcode, but most likely to achieve your ideal asking price.
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