Planning permission doesn't have to be a minefield !

Seeking planning permission does not have to be a minefield, if you have the necessary experience.

There are generally two routes you can take:

1) prepare drawings etc for proposal and submit for local authority approval;

2) possibly your proposal is within the exempted development criteria and permission is not required.

A planning application will generally take up to 12 weeks. An exempted extension could be built in this period of time. You are limited in size and the works would need to be to the rear of your house. Anything to the front or side (except for a small porch) would need planning permission. A word of advice, if the house had been previously extended, then this floor area will need to be taken into account.

A brief general overview of exempted development:

  • 40m² is the maximum floor size and only 12m² can be on the upper floor for terraced and semi-detached houses;

  • walls not to exceed the height of existing walls and the roof should not break the existing ridge line;

  • maintain at least 25m² open space (garden area) to the rear of the house;

  • upper floor extensions should be at least 2m from the boundary;

  • windows should be at least 11m from the boundary they face on upper floors.

To read more on this, please refer to

It is worth pointing out that all construction works need to comply with the Safety, Health and Welfare (Construction) Regulations 2013.

So what exactly is Planning Permission?

It is essentially notifying your neighbours, the local authority and the public in general of your development intention. There are 4 types of planning permission:

  • Full Planning: this is the most common and will include a building design proposal, site layout and if in a rural area, percolation test and landscaping layout;

  • Outline Planning: this is just maps for a particular site and allows the local authority to determine the building type;

  • Permission Consequent to Outline Planning: this is a follow on from the outline planning and will involve a building design;

  • Retention: not usually a recommended route, but to be used where perhaps an oversight has occurred.

As part of the planning process, your intentions will need to be advertised in a newspaper and a notice erected on site. Once your application has been lodged and validated by the local authority, it will then take eight weeks before a decision is made. The more comprehensive the content of a planning application submission, the better, this reduces the possibility of the local authority requesting additional/further information. After the initial grant, a further 4 weeks is required before the final grant of permission. Outline planning is valid for three years and full planning is valid for five years.

In the meantime to discuss further, contact James on 087 8328945 or email

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