Thinking of adding more space to your kitchen or extending your living room with a single-storey rear extension but you don’t know how deep you can build? 

Prior approval larger home extension may be the best option for your dream space. Under this scheme, you will be able to build a single-storey rear extension extending beyond the rear of the original house more than 3 metres no more than 6 metres your semi-detached or terraced dwelling house or more than 4 metres no more than 8 metres your detached dwelling house. 

In this article we will explain; whether you are eligible for this scheme, how you can extend your house, possible results and the rules you need to follow. 

Let’s dive into it…

What Is Prior Approval? 

Prior Approval; commonly known as Permitted Development Rights for larger home extensions is a set of rules by the Government (under Permitted Development Rights-Class A) that gives a chance to homeowners to build a single-storey rear extension more than 3 metres no more than 6 metres for semi-detached and terraced dwelling houses and more than 4 metres no more than 8 metres for detached dwelling houses subject to neighbour consultation scheme. 

The neighbour consultation prior approval scheme requires a 21-day period where the immediate neighbours of the property in question will be able to comment with valid reasoning as to why the extension must not be built. After the consultation period, the Local Planning Authority will have a further 21-days to determine the application.

Permitted Development Rights are the rights given to homeowners to do certain types of works without seeking planning permission. Although the Prior Approval scheme falls under Permitted Development Rights, you have to seek prior approval consent from your Local Planning Authority before commencing the construction of your larger home extension. Prior approval consents cannot be applied retrospectively. If you have already built your larger home extension more than 3 metres less than 6 metres for your terraced or semi-detached house or more than 4 metres less than 8 metres for your detached house, you may need to seek retrospective planning permission. Bear in mind; your retrospective planning permission will be assessed under Local Planning Authority policies and these policies may be stricter than Government`s Permitted Development Rights. 

What are the eligibility criteria for the Prior Approval scheme? 

The property won’t be able to favour from the Prior Approval scheme if the existing house fall into the below categories;

  • Your property is in a National Park, the Broads, an area of outstanding natural beauty, an area designated as a conservation area, and land within World Heritage Sites,
  • Your property is a flat or maisonette, not a dwelling house,
  • Your property is a Listed Building.
  • The Council has removed PD rights with an Article 4 Direction for your area.

If your property falls into the above criteria, you will need to seek a householder or full planning application for your house extension. 

What are the requirements for my house to meet for the larger home extension?

Under Permitted development rights for householders Technical Guidance which came into force on 15 April 2015 and became permanent May 2019, you will have to meet certain criteria to be able to build a single-storey larger home extension under the Prior Approval Scheme. These criteria are; 

  • The Extension should be from the original rear wall of the original house (as it was built on 1 July 1948). (Any extension built after 1948 cannot be an original rear wall- https://www.old-maps.co.uk/) 
  • The extension must not exceed %50 of the land around the original house (as it was built on 1 July 1948).
  • Extension should be a single-storey.
  • The extension maximum height cannot be more than 4 metres at ridge level.
  • Extension cannot be more than 3 metres at eaves level if the extension is being built within 2 metres of a boundary line (Parapet walls included). 
  • Extension materials used for construction should be similar to the existing house. (Similar brick, similar tiles, etc)

How can I apply for Prior Approval, how much is the Council fee and how long does it take?

The submission of your application should be completed through the Planning Portal. To validate your application the Council will require the following;

  • You will need to answer a set of questions the planning portal requires you to answer. Such as; description of the proposed work, the maximum height of the roof, eaves height within 2 m of the boundary line, materials, etc.
  • Block plan of your property 
  • Preferably, a full set of architectural drawings which shows your existing and proposed extension with measurements and information about the materials
  • Title Number of your property 
  • Full addresses of the immediate neighbouring properties at front, side and rear
  • Gross Internal Area added by the development
  • Approximate dates for the construction commencement and completion
  • £96 +VAT council fee for assessment of your application. 

Your Local Planning Authority will have 5-10 business days to validate your application. Any missing document or payment will be required from the Local Planning Authority if necessary. Upon validation, your application will be visible on Council’s Planning system and you will be able to see your application on the Council’s Planning page. 

With the validation of your application, 21 days consultation period will start and the allocated planning officer for your case will notify your immediate neighbours to seek their opinion on your proposal. They will be able to comment and object to your application with valid reasoning. After the neighbour consultation period, the officer will have further 21 days to decide on your application. 

What if my neighbours object to my Prior Approval Application?

If your prior approval application receives objections from the neighbours, the officer will assess the objections within Permitted Development Rights Class A restrictions.

If they have valid reasons, your application may be refused or the officer may require revisions from your architect/designer/consultant. General objection reasons are;

  • Impact on the amenity space of the neighbouring properties
  • Daylight-sunlight concerns
  • Construction concerns

For the above reasons; we would always advise meeting your immediate neighbours and discussing your possible extension before the preparation of your application. If they have any concerns regarding the depth of your extension, the depth of the extension can be shortened to 4m-5m.

What if my application receives a refusal?

If you believe the Council assessment was not within Permitted Development Rights Class A, you can still chase up your case with an appeal process. Bear in mind, an appeal process is a lengthy process that takes up to 6 months. 

In appeal process; an independent inspectorate will be assigned your case and assess the application similar to the planning officer. 

Alternatively, you may discuss with your neighbours and submit another application for shorter prior approval larger home extension more than 3 metres and less than 6 metres. 

When can I start the construction after receiving my Approval/Prior approval not required letter?

Upon the approval of your Prior Approval Application, you will then will be required to go ahead with a second stage which is called a Building Regulation Stage. The Building Regulation stage is a compulsory stage where you need to demonstrate the structural design of your extension complies with Building Regulation Standards. 

How can EP help you with your Prior Approval Application?

Express Planning can guide you from start to finish for your Prior Approval application. Our general services for a prior approval process includes;

• On-site meeting with yourself and discussion about possible layout
• Carrying out a measured site survey with a laser meter
• Creating existing layouts
• Creating concept & proposed design and layout plans
• Includes three rounds of online design revisions
• Preparing 3D Visuals (Internal-External)
• Submitting, managing and monitoring your application
• Liaising with your Local Planning Authority on your behalf until the decision (6 weeks – Free of Charge)