CONVERTING GARAGES TO CREATE LIVING ACCOMMODATION AND PLANNING PERMISSION
If you want to add living accommodation to your home, converting a garage could be the answer. To convert a garage in this way may need planning permission however, requiring a planning application to your local authority.
Planning applications cost money, take time, and require an assessment to be made by a local planning authority officer. Your neighbours will be consulted and can object to your proposals.
The rules regarding whether you need planning permission to convert a garage are set out below.
CONVERTING A GARAGE – WHEN ATTACHED TO YOUR HOUSE
In most cases works to convert a garage that is attached to an existing house will not constitute ‘development’ in planning terms. In such instances, planning permission will not be required provided that the work is internal and does not involve enlargement of the building.
If you wish to extend the home as part of the project, see our guides to ‘permitted development’ rights for extending your home.
There may be conditions attached to a previous planning permission that will prevent conversions of garages at properties. Such conditions are often applied to new housing developments in order to ensure that there is sufficient car parking available to serve the dwelling and locality. This is always worth checking with your local council before starting work.
Any external alterations that ‘materially affect the appearance of dwelling’ will also likely require planning permission, so if there are any exterior works required, check with your local council before proceeding.
CONVERTING A GARAGE – WHEN DETACHED FROM YOUR HOUSE
Planning permission is not normally required to convert a detached garage into living accommodation, provided that the work is internal and does not involve enlarging the building. The building must also only be used for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the existing dwellinghouse.
Conversion of a detached garage into an annexe or separate living accommodation is likely to require a planning application.
SEPARATE RULES APPLY TO:
- Extensions to houses or outbuildings
- TV aerials or satellite dishes
- Chimneys, flues or soil and vent pipes
- Any alteration to the roof of the existing house
- Changes of use
If you live in any of the areas listed below, additional limitations on ‘permitted development’ will apply:
- Conservation Areas
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- National Parks
- the Broads
- World Heritage Sites
Contact your local authority or seek professional advice if you live in these areas.
REMOVAL OF PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS
Permitted development rights can also be removed by your local planning authority, either through the addition of a Condition on a previous planning permission, or through imposition of an Article 4 Direction.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL PLANNING AUTHORITY BEFORE STARTING WORKS
For the purposes of planning, contact with the local planning authority is generally only necessary before carrying out permitted development where:
- ‘prior approval’ from the local planning authority is required under PD rules
- a ‘neighbour consultation scheme’ is in place
- the local planning authority has a Community Infrastructure Levy in place which requires developers to contact the local planning authority before carrying out permitted development. Failure to do this may result in the local planning authority imposing a surcharge on a developer
- the permitted development rights require the developer to notify the local planning authority of a change of use
Schedule 2 of the GPDO sets out when any advance notification is required. If you are in any doubt, contact your local planning department or seek professional advice.
If a development is over 100 sq m in size, it may be liable for a charge under the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Check with your local planning authority whether they use CIL in your area and whether it applies to your project.
AND FINALLY …
PD rights are subject to change. The guide above is for general information only and does not constitute advice. Local and site-specific circumstances can differ and affect whether a planning application is needed.
Other consents (such as Building Regulations or notifications under the Party Wall Act) may also be needed.
To determine whether planning permission or other consents are required, seek professional advice or clarification from your local authority before starting works.
TownPlanning.info has an extensive catalogue of articles and guides which help explain the town planning system in England.
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