6 things to consider when applying for planning permission for improvements to a house in a protected area

bay window house

Taking the time out for house improvements is a great move. It can add to your property’s value, make it more comfortable, aesthetically pleasing and increase your enjoyment of it. Unfortunately, however, the process for improving homes in protected areas is often less straightforward and planning permission can be required.

If you’re unsure whether your home lies within a protected area, we have listed some examples of them below:

  • National Parks
  • Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs)
  • Conservation areas
  • The Broads
  • World Heritage Sites

So, if your home falls within any of these areas, here are X things to consider before applying for planning permission:

1. If there are any Article 4 directions in place

Article 4 directions are made by local planning authorities to limit permitted development rights. Permitted development rights are building works and changes of use that can be performed without applying for planning permission. They are restricted in these areas to protect special or historical characteristics.

In areas where they are present, those wanting to build an extension, install new windows, or something else may now need to apply for planning permission to do this. Therefore, we recommend that anyone living in a protected area checks their local planning authority’s website to see if any are present.

2.  Study the documentation from the relevant authority

Conservation areas, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are designated to protect historical or special aspects of that area. However, the local planning authority, national park authority or AONB Board should have documentation available covering the aspects they are trying to preserve.

With these documents at your disposal, you should be able to determine where your home lies in relation to that area along with the key features for that area being designated and what is required for any developments. Therefore, when creating a planning application, you can take this into account, which should increase the likelihood of your application being accepted.

3. Consider pre-application advice

There are planning consultants that you can consult for pre-application advice. During their consultation, they can advise you on how to navigate planning policy issues along with the design considerations that you need to make. This advice can be invaluable for ensuring your design is appropriate that area, increasing the likelihood of it being approved.

4. You can still go contemporary

Because protected areas preserve special and historical characteristics that are specific to that region, you might assume that the only home improvements you can make are ones that are in keeping with the design traditions of that area. However, it is often the case that protected areas are home to properties of various ages and styles.

In such cases, you can incorporate traditional and local design elements into the design of your proposed home improvements but re-engineer them in a more contemporary way.

There are some areas with a more unitary design identity, although some prior research should help you determine whether yours is one of them.

5. Focus solely on your home’s interior

The beauty of just improving your home’s interior is that you will not need to apply for planning permission to make any alterations. This includes building or removing internal walls. However, if you reside in a listed building, any significant internal works will require listed building consent.

Interior works that you might consider include:

6. There are plenty of permitted developments for external works too

Unless there are Article 4 Directions in place, there are various external works that can be carried out in protected areas too. We have listed some of them below:

  • Single storey conservatories and extensions can be built at the rear of the home and up to 3m, or 4m for detached properties.
  • Outbuildings that are built at the rear of the home and comply with the other permitted development guidance.
  • Windows and doors that are similar in appearance to the home’s original windows but bear in mind that this is a bit of a grey area.
  • Solar panels that are not built on a wall or roof that is facing a highway. However, other restrictions apply.

Have you been thinking of improving your home? With Compare Companies, you can compare quotes for a wide range of home improvements and get the best deal for your home today. To get started, have a look at our product pages and then use the quick forms to get in touch. Or for more information give us a call on 0800 084 5076.

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