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Are you looking to add a modern extension to your home but wonder whether you need planning permission for a conservatory?

Read on to learn about the planning permission needed (if any), the costs and how to apply for it.

In this guide, we cover:

Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?

Conservatory planning permission guidelines

How big can a conservatory be without planning permission?

How close can you build a conservatory to a boundary?

Do you need planning permission for a conservatory on a semi-detached house?

How much does it cost to get planning permission in the UK?

Other planning permissions to consider

Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?

If you’re adding a conservatory to your house, you do not need planning permission as it would be considered a permitted development (provided the build meets the relevant limits and conditions).

Conservatory planning permission guidelines

Conservatories are considered to be permitted developments. So you don’t need planning permission in most cases, as long as the extension meets the relevant conditions.

Below, we’ve listed some scenarios where you wouldn’t need planning permission when building your new conservatory.

Conservatory planning permission is not required if…

The conservatory does not extend beyond the side wall of the house

A conservatory’s side wall can align with the side wall of your house, but this condition states that the build cannot extend beyond that.

conservatory planning permission illustration

The conservatory does not take up more than 50% of the land area around the ‘original house’

Conservatories and other outbuildings must 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, such as your front and back gardens, as well as any side passages you own. Calculate the total area and make sure your conservatory and other buildings (such as sheds or outbuildings) do not exceed half of it. For example, if the total area of land around your original house is 20 square metres, your conservatory, together with any other outbuildings, cannot exceed 10 square metres.

The conservatory is not higher than the original roof of the home

It’s unlikely that your conservatory will be taller than your property, but it’s a condition that your extension must not exceed the height of your roof. If you live in a single-storey property, such as a bungalow, a significantly large extension could violate this condition. You might want to consider a small conservatory instead.

The conservatory is not forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway

Conservatory Planning Permission

This limitation states that if you have a conservatory on the front or side of your house, it cannot be located closer to a public highway (a road or footpath) than your house.

The conservatory is a single-storey rear extension that does not exceed four metres in height

If you’re building a single-storey conservatory at the rear of your property, it must not exceed four metres in height.

The conservatory is a single-storey rear extension that does not exceed six metres in depth for an attached house, and eight metres in depth for a detached house

A 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.

The conservatory is a side extension that is a single storey, and does not exceed four metres in height, or a width of more than half of the ‘original house’

Side extensions cannot exceed four metres in height. In terms of width, your conservatory must not exceed half of the width of your home. 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.

The eaves and ridge height of a conservatory are not higher than that of the house

This condition applies to the eaves and ridges of your conservatory. The maximum eaves height should not be higher than the existing house’s eaves. The highest point of the conservatory should also not be higher than the existing house’s roof ridge line.

The eaves within two metres of the boundary do not exceed three metres in height

Any conservatory within two metres of the edge of your property (where the land you own ends) cannot have eaves higher than three metres from the lowest point on the ground.

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.

A roof pitch on conservatories higher than one storey must match the existing 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.

If you have any doubts about whether your conservatory would be considered permitted development, contact your local authority planning department before the construction of your project starts.

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.

As described above, your conservatory will not require an application for planning permission provided the aforementioned limits and conditions are met, including:

  • A single-storey rear extension cannot exceed four metres in height.
  • A single-storey rear extension cannot exceed six metres in depth for an attached property and eight metres in depth for a detached property.
  • A single-storey side extension cannot exceed four metres in height or more than half the width of the original building.

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 official guidelines from Planning Portal state the following: 

If a conservatory (at side or rear) is within two metres of a boundary, 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 two-metre 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.

Generally, where the conservatory plans indicate that the development is close to the boundary, you will need to consult the neighbour consultation scheme.

This differs from planning permission. The local authority scheme consults the adjoining neighbours to advise them about the development. This allows the neighbouring property the opportunity to object to the plans and work towards a clear resolution with the local council, who will ultimately decide whether the development should proceed. This applies to both conservatories that are permitted developments and extensions that require planning permission.

Do you need planning permission for a conservatory on a semi-detached house?

A conservatory project on a semi-detached house will not require planning permission, provided the applicable limits and conditions are met.

In most cases, the conservatory should not extend beyond the property’s rear wall by more than six metres. If you’re planning to add a conservatory on the rear of a semi-detached house, and the proposed plans suggest that the extension would exceed that limit, then you’ll need planning permission.

If your conservatory is built on the detached side of your semi-detached 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 it comes to semi-detached houses and conservatories, many developments are brought to the attention of the neighbour consultation scheme. This 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.

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.

For more information, explore our other resources on planning permissions:

At ConservatoryLand, we create bespoke conservatories made-to-measure based on your specifications. If you’d like to learn more, give us a call. Our team is here to help at every step.

The permitted development allowances described here apply to houses, not flats, maisonettes or other buildings, as per the Planning Portal’s guide. Other consents may be required if your house is listed or in a designated area. The information on this page was correct at the time of publishing but is subject to change in line with legislation.