It is often one of the first things people ask me when they find out what I do, knowing that I have contacts with the Local Authority. Planning guidance regularly changes however there have been a few relaxations in the Law more recently, which has made some of the simpler extensions and alteration more accessible to all.
As a general guide, the current ‘Permitted Development’ for a dwelling, the amount you can extend without needing planning permission, stands at 3m (single storey) to the rear of an attached building and 4 m (single storey) to the rear of a detached property.
My experience is predominantly residential and therefore I am focussing on this market, however I would be happy to provide advice for other building types as necessary.
There is a handy interactive house on the Planning Portal, http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/house which outlines other sorts of developments which will or will not need planning permission and this is always a good starting point for those who are unsure as to what guidance they may need at this early stage.
There are exceptions to all rules and this generally occurs for buildings within Conservation Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and more locally The South Downs National Authority. The Local Authority has documents referred to as the Local Plan which as regularly updated but outline those sites that fall within designated areas, areas earmarked for future development and so on.
In my years of dealing with Planning officers, more frequently with Chichester District Council, for a variety of building types and circumstances, and regardless of the changes in Planning Law, if it is not clear then I will make it my mission to find out for you as quickly and simply as possible in order to clarify what will and will not require planning permission.
Most Local Authorities have a Duty Officer available during certain times in the week to discuss your proposals, many clients find it useful to start their project discussions this way in order to gain a clearer understanding of local planning requirements. I have found that providing my clients with simple hand-drawn sketches, following our briefing meeting, and accompanying them or meeting the Duty Officer on their behalf to illustrate the development is an incredibly valuable exercise and worthwhile start to a project.