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Planning Permission in Scotland

13th January 2016

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Scottish Planning Regulations Explained

With recent statistics indicating that UK house prices are growing at a rate of 7% per year [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35101209] and the soaring costs associated with buying, selling and removals, it is no surprise that more and more Scottish homeowners are choosing to improve, rather than move.

Extending your property or adding a conservatory or orangery is a great way of maximising space and adding value to your home. Before you begin choosing colour schemes and soft furnishings, however, you will need to think about planning permission for your project.

Changes to Scottish planning regulations came into force in 2012 and were aimed at allowing homeowners greater flexibility in the planning and building of home extensions. Here we explain what the Scottish planning system means for you.

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Conservatory or Orangery?

In Scotland, planning permission is not normally required, if the conservatory/orangery you are proposing meets the following guidelines:

  • Any part of the structure should not be higher than the original roof on your property, nor should it alter the sloping of the existing roof.
  • Any part of the structure should not be closer to a road than the original property.
  • For a terraced or semi-detached house, the floor area of the conservatory/orangery should not exceed 16 square metres (4m x 4m) or 10% of the total floor area of the property.
  • For a detached house, the floor area of the conservatory/orangery should not exceed 24 square metres (4m x 6m) or 20% of the total floor area of the property.
  • The property is not a listed building or flat or in a conservation area.
  • If your proposed structure meets these guidelines, you will not need planning permission; however, you should get a Certificate of Lawfulness, which is written proof of this fact. This is quite easily obtained from your nearest planning department, and it will be needed by your solicitor if you sell your property in the future.

Do I Need Planning Permission for My Extension?

Single storey:

If your proposed extension is a single storey, you will not need planning permission in Scotland if it meets the following guidelines:

  • Does not exceed four metres in height and three metres to the eaves level.
  • Is not deeper than four metres for a detached house and three metres for a semi-detached or terraced house.
  • The floor area of the extension should not be more than half of the original square footage of the property.
  • The extension should not take up more than 50% of the outside space of the property.
  • The property should not be a listed building or a flat or in a conservation area.

Two storey:

For a two-storey extension, you will not need planning permission in the following instances:

  • The extension is not within 10 metres of the boundary lines of your land.
  • It will not be built higher than the existing structure.
  • The footprint of the extension is not more than double the floor space of the existing house.
  • It does not take up more than half of the outside area of the property.
  • The property is not a flat or listed building or in a conservation area.

In both instances, even if official planning permission is not needed, you will still need to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness to prove that your building work was all above board if you sell your home in the future.

My Planned Extension Does not fill These Requirements. Now What?

If you do need to apply for planning permission in Scotland, the process is a lot more straightforward than many people fear. Permission for a home extension costs £202 and is paid to your local council. You can apply online and will be expected to give details of the development in question, a site plan and architect drawings, details of materials you will be using and your personal details as the applicant. Most proposals are approved within six to eight weeks; however, this can take longer if the council requires additional information or your plan is especially complex. The permission is valid for three years from the time of approval.

How Do the Planning Laws in England Differ from those in Scotland?

The main difference in the planning laws between England and Scotland is that north of the border, you will also need to get a building warrant for all extensions and some conservatories. The building warrant is the legal permission required before building work begins, and the cost will vary, depending on the projected costs of the extension. For more information about building warrants, click here.


Find Your Nearest UltraInstaller

For help planning your conservatory, orangery or extension, please use our free search tool to find your nearest UltraInstaller. Our accredited network spans the whole of the country, so you’ll be able to locate a qualified expert, no matter where you live. Please note that this article is about planning permissions rather than Building Regulations, Your installer will be able to advise you of the Building Regulation approvals required for your project. 

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