Friday 14th March, 2014
As the days start to lengthen and brighten, it’s good to turn your mind to any improvements you might want to make to your lifestyle in relation to the way you merge outdoor and indoor living. To this end, there are a range of actions you might be considering. These could include the adding (or extending) of a conservatory or orangery, or the addition of an outdoor feature such as a pergola, loggia or stylish veranda.
No matter your choice, one consideration that will likely be close to the front of your mind is whether any such project is a lawfully permitted development – or whether you may even need planning permission. In many cases, it’s actually a reasonably simple decision. However, there will be occasions when you might not be sure of the status of the work you are considering, or whether it passes the permitted development tests.
In some cases, a simple alteration to your plans is all that’s needed. However, there is a obvious way to ensure your peace of mind before commencing any such projects. You can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (the process is simple and can be completed online at the government’s planning portal). This isn’t full planning permission but is proof that the completed work is lawful. This is also useful to obtain if you may be selling your property at some future date; it’s a simple answer to any questions from possible buyers.
LDCs are not compulsory, but are a terrific way to be able to provide confirmation that the use, operation or activity it details is lawful for planning control purposes. If you decide to apply, there is a fee payable, and you will need to provide enough information for your council to reach a decision. It is usually a good idea to ask for any help you need from your local authority’s planning officers. If, after application, your proposal is either refused or amended in some way (or you have not gained a decision within eight weeks) you can then appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
If you have read this far and the word “hassle” has come to mind, it’s really not that much of an effort to provide yourself with this valuable peace of mind before you get down to the serious business of enjoying your new pergola, conservatory or the like!