Planning Permission and Permitted Development for Loft Conversions

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February 5, 2017

Planning Permission and Permitted Development for Loft Conversions

If you’re thinking about adding an extra room to your property, a loft conversion is an excellent idea. Before you embark on this project however, you should know that you’ll require planning permission for certain alterations although not in all circumstances because some conversions are within the permitted development rights.

What is Planning Permission?

Practically all the loft conversions in London will need a manner of planning permission before they can get the go ahead to make any changes. The local authority is in charge of this and the process can be commenced by applying to them.

A loft conversion is considered a serious alteration which sometimes entails a complete overhaul of the roof structure, making it imperative to have a planning document. According to the planning portal, this permission is needed for majority of new buildings, or where there’s major alteration to existing buildings, significant changes to the use of a building or piece of land.

What do you understand by Permitted Development?

There are certain loft conversions like the Velux loft conversion, which do not require Planning Permission and can be carried out under Permitted Development. This is so because the alterations are considered minor without any significant effect on the neighbours.

If you’re having doubts about whether your loft alterations fall within those allowed under permitted development, then the best option is for your architect to apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development (COL). If your aim is to sell the property, then the COL document can be evidence of the lawful conversion of your loft.

Your loft conversion’s application procedure

Here at Go Gondolier, we employ the services of chartered architects with an all-encompassing knowledge of your local council’s department of planning. Together, we will work to come up with plans for your loft conversion which are within the guidelines.
We will take care of the application for planning permission and COL for you, and work with the local authority to ensure a seamless process.

  • We will make an application for your loft conversion to your local authority and you will pay the necessary fees directly to the local authority. We also give clients the chance to sign a letter of indemnity to the effect that they don’t mind starting the work prior to the granting of permission from the planning permission or COL and that they’ll continue at their own risk.
  • As soon as they receive your fees, your application is validated and they give you a decision date. The letter of validation is usually available online.
    The details of your loft conversions, like planning applications are necessary for public interest. The council website will display the plans, address and description of the work proposed.
  • Your neighbours are given the opportunity to share their views on the appropriateness or otherwise of your conversion. If for instance they feel it might lead to a loss of privacy or that it might be out of place if there are no other lofts in the area, these are valid points that they can raised.
    The letter of validation also carries the expected decision date which usually has a time frame of about eight weeks, and during this period, your application will be taken to a case officer to have it reviewed.
  • If a case officer deems it necessary to conduct an inspection of the property, you might be contacted if access is required.
  • The planning decision for the conversion of your loft may overrun by weeks, and since this is out of our authority there’s nothing we can do about it. Our speciality at Go Gondolier is project management, and we’ll ensure that you’re properly guided every step of the way.

What’s the next step if your Planning or COL is not granted?

The refusal of planning application for your loft conversion does not necessarily mean that your project has to be over. Our chartered architects can alter your loft conversion plans to align it with the requirements of the case officer. There are two things you can do if your planning permission or Certificate of Lawful Development is refused.

They include:

  • Submit your application again: You can resubmit a revised plan at no extra charge by the Local Authority. This is known as a new scheme and is most often the best alternative for your loft conversion.
  • Appeal: If you decide to appeal the decision, your proposed loft conversion is then sent to the planning inspectorate who then reviews your case. They will get the Local Authority’s comments as well as that of the Agent involved (Go Gondolier) and will arrive at a decision based on this.

Other factors like whether your property is a Freehold or Leasehold can also influence the outcome of your Planning application. You can get further information about this on the planning portal website.


At Go Gondolier, we create bespoke loft conversions that will meet our client’s needs, we also help our clients experience a stress free loft conversion by managing the complex build. Contact us today for a free quote request

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