Loft conversion planning permission: what you need to know

If you are looking for more space, you might want to consider a loft conversion. Home renovations in London are generally focused on making efficient use of the space you have available, and you might be surprised how much additional floor area you can get from a loft conversion. Depending on your homes existing layout and area, you can almost certainly create one bedroom and an en-suite from a simple dormer loft conversion. In many cases, you can build a second dormer over your existing outrigger which results in the addition of two bedrooms and an en-suite. 

At Home Tales, over 40% of our projects are either a loft conversion or have a loft conversion included within a larger scope of works. When it comes to loft conversions, there are a couple of ways you can go about obtaining consent from your local council. The first of these is planning permission, and the second is via permitted development. 

Planning permission is more open to interpretation then permitted development. Each council interprets planning policy in a slightly different way, and each council has different rules and regulations for that they deem to be acceptable. On top of this, there are areas within boroughs that are of special architectural interest, such as listed buildings and conservation areas. If you are in a conservation area or if your building is listed, permitted development is not available to you and the only way to obtain consent is via full planning. This is also the case if you are in a flat. When we apply for planning permission, we will submit a selection of drawings to the council which includes various details. It’s mandatory to include a site and location plan, as well as existing and proposed floorplans and existing and proposed elevations. In some cases, the council might require additional floorplans, to better understand what it is you are trying to achieve. If you are in a conservation area, you are generally expected to include a design and access statement alongside the application. 

If you are in a conservation area, you cannot exercise your permitted development rights unless the council has specified an exception to the rule (but this is quite rare). As a result, the only option available to you is planning permission. When it comes to full planning permission, in some cases, the case officer might get in touch with us and start a dialog on what is acceptable and what isn’t acceptable. This can be advantageous because it means the application isn’t rejected outright. In this case, the council is giving us feedback and allowing us to amend the proposal to align with a more acceptable design. In some cases, we might feel our original proposal is acceptable, and in this case we would draw reference to relevant planning policy, or local precedent, to further support our case for approval. 

We recently gained approval for a loft conversion via full planning from Hammersmith and Fulham Council. This property is in a conservation area. The mansard design demonstrated to the council that we were being sensitive to the architectural heritage within the area. We provided a design and access statement to support our application, and the proposal was approved.

Permitted development is much clearer cut. If you are able to exercise your permitted development rights, then as long as the proposal complies with the rules and regulations, it cannot be denied. We frequently use permitted development for our loft conversion projects. In London, the allowance that is permitted within your permitted development rights is fairly generous when it comes to a loft conversion. In a terraced property, when it comes to a loft conversion, you are allowed 40 cubic meters of space. This might sound fairly abstract, so let’s put it into context for you. This area generally enables the addition of two double bedrooms and a small bathroom. Remember that this area can be used however you wish. Some of our clients chose to create a sizeable bathroom instead of a bedroom, and then encompass what would have been the smaller bathroom into the bedroom area. 

We recently obtained permitted development approval for this l-shape dormer extension in Wandsworth. This extension fits within the requirements of permitted development and is within the 40 cubic meter tolerance. The homeowner has added two new double bedrooms and a bathroom with their conversion. We recently published a blog which runs through some of our latest loft conversion projects, from start to finish. You might find it useful, particularly if you are at the early stages of considering a loft conversion. 

If you are considering a loft conversion, get in touch with our team today. We would be delighted to talk you through the process and answer any initial questions you might have. We offer free telephone consultations which enable us to understand what it is you are hoping to achieve with your project. This enables us to issue you with a quote for our services. We also have a fantastic House Tour coming up which showcases one of our brilliant loft conversions. It’s an l-shape dormer extension on the Southfields grid in Wandsworth. Get in touch with our team to register your interest. Alternatively, you can book a telephone consultation via our live bookings page. 


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