A modern extension can do wonders for your home, but do conservatories need planning permission, and how much could it cost?
It’s crucial to follow all building legislation, so you don’t face expensive errors. Read on to learn about the planning permission you’ll need (if any) and how to apply for it.
Reviewed and updated in January 2023.
In this guide, we cover:
Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?
You don’t need planning permission, provided your conservatory meets certain conditions.
Conservatories that meet the limits and conditions are regarded as permitted developments. This would allow you to complete the building project without planning permission approval.
If your extension exceeds the conditions, you will likely need to apply for planning permission.
Bear in mind that planning permission is separate from building regulations, and you should consider both legislations.
When is conservatory planning permission not required?
There are several rules to meet that will allow you to extend your home with a conservatory without planning permission.
Let’s outline some of the conditions below.
1. The conservatory walls run within the length of the property’s walls
If any part of the conservatory extends beyond the wall of your home, then you will need to apply for planning permission. See the diagram below.
2. The conservatory covers less than 50% of your land area
Conservatories should not take up more than half of the total land area surrounding the original house (the state of the property when it was first built or as it stood on 1st July 1948 if it was built before that date).
When calculating this figure, take into account any land on your property that isn’t your residence. This includes your front and back gardens and any side passages you own. Calculate the total area and make sure your conservatory and other outbuildings (such as sheds or garages) do not exceed half of it. For example, if the total land area around your original house is 20 square metres, your conservatory and any other outbuildings cannot exceed 10 square metres.
3. The conservatory’s height is lower than the house’s roof
Your conservatory shouldn’t exceed the height of your roof.
A significantly large extension could violate this condition if you live in a single-storey property, like a bungalow. If this is the case, consider a small conservatory instead to avoid applying for planning permission approval.
4. The conservatory does not face onto a road
If you’re planning on building a conservatory on the front or side of your property, it shouldn’t be closer to a public road or footpath than your main residence.
5. A single-storey rear extension height doesn’t exceed four metres
If you’re building a single-storey conservatory at the rear of your property, it shouldn’t exceed four metres in height.
6. A single-storey side conservatory doesn’t exceed half the width of your home
A single-storey conservatory on the side of your home should not exceed four metres in height or a width of more than half of the original house.
To calculate this figure, determine the width of your original house and then half it. For example, if the original house is six metres wide, the side extension cannot exceed three metres in width.
7. The conservatory doesn’t exceed a certain depth
A single-storey rear conservatory can extend beyond the rear wall of the original house up to eight metres for a detached house and six metres for terraced or semi-detached properties.
8. The eaves should not be higher than the house’s eaves
This condition applies to the eaves and ridges of your conservatory. The maximum eaves height should not exceed the existing house’s. The highest point of the conservatory should also not be higher than the existing house’s roof ridge line.
9. The eaves do not exceed three metres in height
Any conservatory within two metres of the edge of your property (where the land you own ends) shouldn’t have eaves higher than three metres from the lowest point on the ground.
10. The extension does not include balconies, raised platforms or verandas
This limit states that your conservatory cannot have balconies or other raised platforms.
At ConservatoryLand, we don’t typically manufacture conservatories with any of these features (unless requested). You will need planning permission if you wish to add them.
11. The conservatory’s roof pitch higher than one storey matches the house
The steepness of a house’s roof is measured by its roof pitch. If your conservatory is more than one storey tall, the roof pitch must match the house’s roof.
If you have any doubts about whether your conservatory would be considered a permitted development, contact your local planning authority before starting construction.
How big can a conservatory be without planning permission?
You can build a conservatory that is less than 50% in size of the total area around the original house without planning permission.
The height restrictions of conservatory projects vary based on the size of your property. The taller and wider your home, the bigger the conservatory can be.
How close can a conservatory be to a boundary?
If the conservatory is less than three metres high and doesn’t cover more than 50% of the area around your property, it can reach the edge of the boundary.
It’s important to consider your boundaries when planning your conservatory project, especially if you live in an area with many nearby properties.
The rules outlined by Planning Portal state:
- If a conservatory (at the side or rear) is within two metres of a boundary, the maximum eaves height should be no higher than three metres to be permitted development.
- If you’re building a conservatory within two metres of a boundary, but it stands taller than three metres, the likelihood is that you will need planning permission to proceed with the project.
- If you’re building a three-metre extension within two metres of a boundary, you can build anywhere within that space so long as the boundary itself isn’t disturbed. For example, you can’t build up against the neighbouring fence or wall. Typically, what remains on your side of the boundary is acceptable — if it doesn’t affect privacy, obstruct daylight or encroach upon neighbouring properties.
If you’re concerned about the distance between the perimeter of your conservatory and your neighbouring boundary, seek the advice of your local planning authority before you proceed with the build.
Do you need planning permission for a conservatory on a semi-detached house?
Conservatories on semi-detached properties do not require planning permission approval as long as they fall within the conditions of permitted development.
If your conservatory is built on the detached side of your house, the usual conditions apply (it should be no more than six metres extended out from the rear wall). However, if the conservatory is built within two metres of the neighbouring boundary, you’ll need to ensure that it is no more than three metres high.
When does a conservatory need planning permission?
Householders extending their home with a conservatory that meets certain conditions won’t need to apply for planning permission. This is known as “permitted development rights”, allowing you to carry out certain types of building work without needing planning permission approval.
However, in some parts of the UK, the permitted development rights might be restricted, such as if you live in a conservation area or national park.
In other cases, the permitted development rights may be withdrawn by the issuing of an Article 4 direction. This will mean that you have to apply for planning permission for building work that would normally not require it. This could happen if an area of acknowledged importance is deemed to be threatened, which is most common in conservation areas.
If you’re unsure whether you’re affected by the Article 4 direction, contact your local planning authority for more information.
How much does it cost to get planning permission in the UK?
You need to submit an application to obtain planning permission. The application fees vary in England and Wales, so you should check with your local authority.
Typically, you’ll receive an answer within eight weeks of submitting your application. In some cases, it could take up to 13 weeks.
Find out more information about applying for planning permission on the GOV.UK website.
Other planning permissions to consider
It’s essential to check whether your conservatory needs planning permission before starting construction.
Find more information in our other guides on planning permission:
- Planning permission for Orangeries
- Planning permission for conservatories built pre-2008
- Planning permission for conservatories on bungalows
- Planning permission for conservatories with tiled roofs
- Planning permission for conservatories with a radiator
- Planning permission for conservatories with a log burner
Looking for a conservatory provider? Here at ConservatoryLand, we create bespoke conservatories made-to-measure based on your specifications. Get your free personalised quote online. And if you’d like to learn more, give us a call. Our team is on hand to answer your questions, from planning permission concerns to conservatory design queries.
What is a permitted development?
If certain limitations and conditions are met, rules known as permitted development rights allow you to extend a house without needing to apply for planning permission.
If your conservatory extension does meet the relevant conditions, it would be described as a permitted development.
What are the planning permission rules for listed buildings or designated land?
If you plan to make changes to a listed building, including adding a conservatory, you’ll need Listed Building Consent. There are also areas under more limited rights, including conservation areas and national parks.
Designated land is also subject to restrictions, and one condition states that cladding cannot be used on the exterior of the conservatory.
What is the neighbour consultation scheme?
Generally, where the conservatory plans indicate that the development is close to the boundary, you will need to consult the neighbour consultation scheme.
This scheme differs from planning permission approval. The local authority scheme consults the adjoining neighbours to advise them about the development. This gives the neighbouring property the opportunity to object to the plans and work towards a clear resolution with the local council, which will ultimately decide whether the development should go ahead. This applies to both conservatories that are permitted developments and extensions that require planning permission.
The neighbour consultation scheme is an important consideration for semi-detached property developments because the extension can often impact the neighbouring property. This could be due to a light obstruction or a privacy issue.
Please note that the information provided on this page is not legal advice. It is given as a guide only, based on the information outlined at planningportal.co.uk.
The guidance described on this page applies to houses, not flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Other consents may also be required if your home is listed or in a designated area.
The information was correct at the time of publication, but it is subject to change as a result of legislative changes. Before beginning any work, always seek advice from local planning authorities.