Planning Permission in Peterborough

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This article is presented for informational purposes only. It is no substitute for independent professional advice and we encourage any planning applicant to speak with the relevant professionals prior to starting their project.

The prospect of getting planning permission in Peterborough often gives people the willies, with visions of bureaucrats poring over plans and a council planning committee making irrational decisions because it isn’t what they would have seen in the 1950’s when they were teenagers…

It is quite easy to avoid getting planning permission altogether if you can fit within certain criteria, and you’d be surprised at what you can do without it! Even when you do need planning permission it is often only a formality, as long as it fits in with the Local Plan. To begin with we will look at how to get planning permission and then where you don’t need it at all.

The Local Plan

According to the Peterborough Local Plan, buildings and extensions are usually accepted if they “make a positive contribution to the quality of the natural and built environment”, and “would not have a detrimental effect on the character of any immediately adjoining properties or the surrounding area”.

In addition, they must not impact on the neighbours by affecting their privacy, overshadowing their property, or take away and public green spaces. In addition the extension or building shouldn’t create an environment where there is likely to be crime or antisocial behaviour, create noise or pollution in the form of smells or light pollution.

Getting permission

As will be discussed later you often don’t need planning permission. However in many cases you will.

Whether or not you need planning permission have a chat with your neighbours to tell them what you are doing. That should stop them complaining if they understand what is going on. If you do need permission the council will ask them directly.

Where possible, try to make the extension look similar to the rest of the building as that will be easier for the planners to allow it (see here for a historic look at Peterborough’s architecture). If it is of ‘outstanding architectural merit’, something else will be permitted but be aware that it might ruffle the feathers of the council!

Be aware that some animals, including bats and certain endangered species, have rights too. If bats live in your home you could have a nightmare with planners…

You will also need to meet Building Regulations as part of your design. Read our separate blog on the subject as these can be quite particular as to what can and cannot be done in a certain way.

Once you have considered all of these, you should apply for planning permission through the Government Planning Portal here.

Avoiding the planners altogether

Below are 9 jobs that you can do on your home without getting planning permission. If you are worried that it might need it you can go to the council for a Lawful Development Certificate that proves you don’t need permission.

  1. Converting a basement.

You don’t need permission to convert a basement for residential use unless you are digging new space, or altering the external appearance of the home by adding a light well.

  1. Conservatories or extensions

For most conservatories you don’t need planning permission, and for some extensions to the rear of the home this also applies. Here are 8 ways of avoiding planning permission. This isn’t exhaustive but covers most issues you will likely to run into:

  • It cannot be more than ½ the area of the original house
  • It cannot be higher than the main building’s roof
  • It cannot extend more than 3 metres from the back of the house if a terraced or semi detached house, or 4 metres if it is a detached house.
  • It cannot be more than 4 metres high
  • If it is a 2 storey extension, it cannot extend more than 3 metres, or be within 7 metres of a rear boundary of the property and cannot be higher than the house.
  1. Decking

This is permitted in your garden if it is no more than 30cm above the ground and takes up no more than 50% of your garden

  1. Garage conversions

Except in new developments, you are normally allowed to convert the inside of a garage into a residential space.

  1. Internal walls

Unless the building is Listed you can take down internal walls, subject to Building Control.

  1. Kitchens or bathrooms

You can put in a new kitchen or bathroom, including a new one upstairs or downstairs unless it is as part of an extension where you would conform to the rules above, or include it in the plans for permission.

  1. Paving the front garden

If you want to pave the front garden for ease of maintenance, as long as it is using permeable surfacing such as gravel you do not need permission. If you don’t want drainage you will also have to apply.

If however you want to convert it into a driveway and need the front kerb lowering you need to get planning permission as the pavement may need strengthening to protect utilities beneath such as sewerage and water pipes.

  1. Outbuildings

Whether a man cave, outdoor office or shed, many people want that extra indoor space in the garden. In many cases you can have this without going to the council for permission.

  • It cannot be in front of the original house
  • It can be 2.5 metres at the eaves, but up to 4 metres tall
  • It cannot be more than ½ the area of the original house.
  1. Converting your home into a place of work.

As long as it fits in with 4 criteria below it should be ok to not get planning permission:

  • Is the home still going to be mainly for residential use?
  • Will there be a marked rise in traffic or people calling?
  • Will there be activities that are unusual in a residential area?
  • Will your work disturb neighbours with noise in unsocial hours or with smells?

Conclusions

Despite the horror stories you may see, it is surprisingly easy to get planning permission. You can build a lot without needing it, and if you do need it just be a good neighbour and the likelihood is that you will be able to get the extension you want.