The standard response by local council planning departments to requests by UK home owners asking whether or not they need planning permission to add a conservatory or orangery onto their property is to request that a planning application be submitted. This can be very frustrating for householders simply trying to find out what they can legally add onto their home without having to apply!
There does not appear any definite set of rules on what we cannot do as UK home owners, but unsurprisingly there is a list of what we cannot do within the curtilage of one’s land (i.e the boundaries of a property). Statutory Instrument 2008 No. 2362 Schedule Part One entitled Development Within the Curtilage of a Dwelling House sets out what development is not permitted on UK residential premises. One can sort of deduce from what you cannot to, what one might actually be allowed to do (although it is worth checking and not assuming!).
The first thing to check is that the propertys permitted development rights are intact, and that any necessary planning permission, and/or Building Regulatory applications are made. That done the 2008 current schedule Class A.1 states that enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwelling house (i.e. for a conservatory or extension) is NOT permitted if one or more of the following planning rules apply:
(1) as a result of the works, the total area of ground covered by buildings within the curtilage of the dwelling house (other than the original dwelling house) would exceed 50% of the total area of the curtilage (excluding the ground area of the original dwelling house);
(2) the height of the part of the dwelling house enlarged, improved or altered would exceed the height of the highest part of the roof of the existing dwelling house;
(3) the height of the eaves of the part of the dwelling house enlarged, improved or altered would exceed the height of the eaves of the existing dwelling house;
(4) the enlarged part of the dwelling house would exceed beyond a wall which: (i) fronts a highway, and (ii) forms either the principal elevation or a side elevation of the original dwelling house;
(5) the enlarged part of the dwelling part of the dwelling house would have a single storey and: (i) extend beyond the rear wall of the original dwelling house by more than four metres in the case of a detached dwelling house, or three metres in the case of any other dwelling house, or (ii) exceed four metres in height;
(6) the enlarged part of the dwelling house would have more than one storey and: (i) extend beyond the rear wall of the original dwelling house by more than three metres, or (ii) be within seven metres of any boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling house opposite the rear wall of the dwelling house;
(7) the enlarged part of the dwelling house would be within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling house, and the height of the eaves of the enlarged part would exceed three metres;
(8) the enlarged part of the dwelling house would extend beyond a wall forming a side elevation of the original dwelling house, and would: (i) exceed four metres in height, (ii) have more than one storey, or (iii) have a width greater than half the width of the original dwelling house; or
(9) it would consist of or include: (i) the construction or provision of a veranda, balcony or raised platform, (ii) the installation, alteration or replacement of a microwave antenna, (iii) the installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe, or (iv) an alteration to any part of the roof of the dwelling house.
Even though most of the above UK planning rules may only seem relevant to extensions rather than orangeries or conservatories, some are directly relevant. For example if a UK property has a garden that slopes down and away from the house, then one will need to build platform on which to site a new conservatory, extension or orangery. Home owners wanting to build a veranda or balcony at the end of the structure will need to apply for planning permission if the total projection from the existing dwelling house to the end of the raised area exceeds three metres.
For any new structure to be deemed a conservatory or orangery, 50% or more of the walls and doors must be glazed and 70% or more of the roof must be glazed or translucent. If either of the rules are not complied with then Building Regulations will need to be applied for and most probably planning permission to.
With all red tape potentially involved, it helps to have a decent level of expertise involved in determining whether or not your particular conservatory or orangery design in the size you desire will or will not need planning permission. Consequently, it is well worth consulting a well known experienced local firm with knowledge of your area, who deal regularly with your local planning authorities. They should be able to ensure you avoid erecting an illegal structure that may have to come down in the future. Most expert conservatory firms should be able to obtain documentary authority for whatever they install, giving you peace of mind, knowing your investment will have been worth it.
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