If you are thinking about converting your loft or garage into a bedroom, bathroom or extra living space, you will need to get planning permission. The government has laid down strict rules for converting lofts and garages into habitable spaces, and failure to comply with these regulations could result in a fine of up to £20,000.
The main thing to remember is that you will need planning permission from your local council if you want to convert your loft or garage into a habitable space. This applies even if you are simply adding a ladder and hatchway so that the loft can be accessed by a stairway inside the property.
You can apply for planning permission yourself, but it is often easier to hire a professional planning consultant who will prepare the paperwork as well as dealing with any objections from neighbours.
When applying for planning permission there are several factors which may affect your application’s success rate:
Is there enough space? The amount of floor area available is important because it affects how much work can be carried out without affecting other parts of the property (such as the ceiling).
If you want to convert your loft into a habitable space, then yes, you’ll need planning permission. But there are exceptions. For example, if your property is listed or in a conservation area then you won’t need planning permission in most cases. And if the work is carried out by an approved contractor then it may not require planning permission either.
If your loft conversion involves structural changes like adding new walls or raising existing ones then yes, you will need planning permission. This is true even if you plan on keeping the original flooring as it is and just want to convert the attic into usable space. The only exception is if your property is listed or in a conservation area (in which case there may be other restrictions).
If you are only making minor alterations such as installing blinds or a new kitchen, then this may not be considered a change of use and won’t require planning permission or building regulations approval. However, if you intend on carrying out major works or adding through-floor access, then it’s best to check with your local authority that these works will not be considered ‘permitted development’ before proceeding with them.
What’s permitted development?
Permitted development rights allow homeowners and builders to carry out certain changes without needing further permission from their local authority. These include:
Adding an extension up to 20 square metres (sq m) in size (if replacing an existing detached garage).