Does my conservatory or orangery need planning permission?

A well designed conservatory or orangery can be a great addition to your home and can genuinely enrich your living space and lifestyle. For example, folding sliding doors can open up your home allowing a seamless flow from your home to your new conservatory to your garden, while solar controlled glass now allows you to be able use this comfortably all year round.

Bringing your idea to reality is an exciting phase where you consider different designs and lifestyle options, but the problem people often encounter is that their ideas can often be compromised or even thwarted by planning restrictions.

Knowing if and how planning permission affects you can save time, money and a whole lot of stress. To know how planning permission can affect you we advocate 2 steps to help:
1.Understand the official guidelines for planning permission
2.Cost effectively find out how your specific ideas may be affected

Planning permission guidelines
Most small conservatories or orangeries do not require planning permission, the problem is, how small is small and what else can affect whether you need planning permission or not. The good news is that in October 2008 clear guidelines were published in the UK. It states that a conservatory is considered a permitted development where planning permission is not required, subject to the limits listed below. So knowing these is good starting point for anyone:

No more than half the area of the land around the original house1 would be covered by additions or other buildings.

No extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway.

No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof.

Maximum depth of a single-storey rear extension of three metres for an attached house and four metres for a detached house.

Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension of four metres.

Maximum depth of a rear extension of more than one storey of three metres including ground floor.

Maximum eaves height of an extension within two metres of the boundary of three metres.

Maximum eaves and ridge height of extension no higher than existing house.

Side extensions to be single storey with maximum height of four metres and width no more than half that of the original house.

Roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey to match existing house.

No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.

On designated land2 no permitted development for rear extensions of more than one storey; no cladding of the exterior; no side extensions.

1. The term original house means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

2. Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

It is important to note that the permitted development described here apply to houses and not flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Also, where work is proposed to a listed building, listed building consent may be required.

So, armed with this information, the next step is to find out how your ideas may be specifically affected.

Cheaply find out how planning permission affects your plans
This is the stage where you start speaking to people about your conservatory or orangery, but do so in a way that you do not incur fees before you even know that your conservatory or orangery is viable.

Initially you could speak to a reputable conservatory and orangery company to get some outline designs and costs. Good companies should provide an initial consultation and some outline designs for free. The advice they can give can be invaluable and you can then take these designs to your local planning office.

The next step is to informally approach your planning officer with these designs. If you do this informally first, they will tell you about any potential objections or problems that you may come across. You can then address these before you put in and pay for a formal application. They are there to help and provide this service so do not be worried about approaching them in this fashion – they usually prefer it. Also, involving them at an early stage builds a good working relationship from the start.

If your conservatory or orangery is large and you think your application could be problematic you could also consult with an experienced architect or planning specialist, or you can go back to your conservatory company to discuss the options.

Finally, it is a good idea to speak to you neighbours first before you put in the application. If it affects them in any way, hearing about it first from you is best than hearing about it once the application gets published and the consultation process starts.