Whilst you must always check before you start any work, Loft conversion planning permission is not always required. There were changes in planning laws that were introduced in October 2008 to remove thousands of projects from the planning process, many more attics can now be converted without it.
Certain alterations to a properties original size are generally allowed under these permitted development rights;
If you live in a world Heritage Site, national park, area of outstanding natural beauty or on the suffolk or norfolk broads then permitted development rights will likely be reduced or taken away.
I built a small pitched roof dormer window on the back of my house that didn't require planning permission at the time because it fell within permitted development.. I hope!
Shortly after I converted my loft, the road I live in was made part of a conservation area. This now means I have to get planning permission to alter anything on the front of the property, even the colour of my front door.
I would never have obtained planning approval for the velux windows on the front of my property had it already been a conservation area or listed building, as the idea is to preserve the original appearance of the street and properties for historical reasons. I might also have needed planning permission for the dormer at the back.
If you have checked with your local authority and it turns out you do need permission, there are several things you need in order to apply;
The site location plan and block plan you need to be ordnance survey maps and they're a rip off. I was annoyed when I had to buy mine getting planning permission for a new front door because it's a lot of money for a drawing. It's not like the council don't know where your bloody house is! (Photocopy them in case you need them again in future).
The design and access statement outlines how you have considered various external factors when designing your proposal like disabled access, elderly/young persons use of the area.Get in touch with your local council and find out exactly what's needed as early as possible, you'll be lucky to get planning permission within 6 weeks! I used a surveyor I knew to do all my drawings and to finalise and submit my application to the local council. Whilst I had to pay £300, it saved me the hasstle of re-applying if I got it wrong because he knew the people in the office and what they would/wouldn't accept. * As always, the information on this page about Loft conversion planning permission is intended as a guide only. Always consult your local planning department for advice and never start a conversion or any other building project until you have the permission you need in writing.
Loft conversion planning permission related pages