Glass Getaway: Demystifying Conservatory Planning Permission for Homeowners

If you’re asking yourself, “Do I need planning permission for a conservatory?”, you’re not alone. Many homeowners are baffled by the seemingly endless regulations and requirements surrounding conservatory planning permission in the UK. But don’t worry! Here at Shear Architectural Design, we’re experts in gaining planning permission for all types of home improvements, including house extensions, loft conversions, and of course, conservatories.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about conservatory planning permission, answering some of the most common questions and addressing key concerns.

Is Planning Permission Required for a Conservatory?

First things first, let’s tackle the big question: Do you need planning permission for a conservatory? The answer is often no, thanks to Permitted Development rights. However, specific rules and conditions must be met for your conservatory to be considered a Permitted Development. If your project doesn’t meet these criteria, you will need to submit a planning permission application.

Understanding Permitted Development

Permitted Development rights allow homeowners to make certain improvements and alterations to their property without needing to apply for planning permission. However, you must ensure your conservatory meets the criteria outlined on the Planning Portal.

Conservatory Planning Permission Criteria

To avoid the need for planning permission, your conservatory must:

  • Be built at ground level and cover no more than half the area of land around the original house.
  • Have a maximum height of 4 metres or 3 metres if it is within 2 metres of a property boundary.
  • Not extend beyond the front or side of the original house (when facing the road).
  • Not exceed a depth of 3 metres for an attached house or 4 metres for a detached house.
  • Use materials similar in appearance to the existing house.

Keep in mind that these criteria may vary in designated areas, such as conservation areas or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. If you’re unsure whether your conservatory meets these requirements, our team of Architectural Designers can help you navigate the planning jungle.


The addition of a conservatory

A single-storey conservatory can be added to a house without the need for a planning permission application, given the following conditions are adhered to:

  • On designated lands, the cladding of the exterior part of a dwelling (including extensions and conservatories) with materials such as stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic, or tiles is not permitted. Designated lands and Sites of Special Scientific Interest do not follow the regulations for larger single-storey rear extensions as described in point 8. Designated lands include national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas, and World Heritage Sites.
  • Conservatories stretching beyond any side wall of the original dwelling are not allowed on designated lands.
  • The total area occupied by the conservatory and other structures should not exceed 50% of the land surrounding the original house. This calculation should also include sheds and other outbuildings. The original house refers to the house as it was initially constructed or as it was on 1st July 1948 (if it was built before that date).
  • Conservatories that project beyond the principal or side elevation of the original house and facing a highway are not allowed.
  • The width of a side conservatory should not exceed half of the original house’s width.
  • Side conservatories should be single-storey with a height limit of four metres.
  • Conservatories positioned within two metres of a boundary should not have an eaves height exceeding three metres.
  • Single-storey rear extensions should not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than four metres for a detached house and three metres for other houses. For non-designated lands or Sites of Special Scientific Interest, this limit increases to eight metres for detached houses and six metres for other types. This is subject to the neighbour consultation scheme which necessitates notifying the Local Planning Authority of the proposed work.
  • A single-storey rear conservatory’s height should not surpass four metres.
  • The highest part of the conservatory should not exceed the existing house’s roof ridge line, and the eaves height should not be higher than the existing house’s eaves.

It’s important to note that these permitted development allowances apply to houses and not flats, maisonettes, or other buildings. It’s recommended to verify with your Local Planning Authority whether these rights apply to your property as they might be revoked by Article 4 directions. Further approvals may be needed if your house is listed or located in a designated area.

Please check ‘Your responsibilities – Other considerations before you start work’ on the Planning Portal for additional information and guidelines. This advice pertains to the planning regime for England, policies in Wales may differ.

Building regulations usually exempt conservatories provided they meet certain conditions. More details can be found in the online guidance of the Planning Portal.

This guide serves as an introduction and should not be regarded as a comprehensive source of legal information. For the installation, alteration, or replacement of a chimney, flue, or soil and vent pipe, please refer to the permitted development guidelines under Class G.

‘Original House’ – The house as it was first built or its state on 1 July 1948.
‘Designated Land’ – Includes national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas, and World Heritage Sites.

Do I Need Building Regulations for a Conservatory?

While your conservatory may not require planning permission, you still need to consider building regulations. In most cases, conservatories are exempt from building regulations, provided they meet specific conditions:

  • The conservatory is built at ground level and has a floor area of less than 30 square metres.
  • The conservatory is separated from the main house by external-quality walls, doors, or windows.
  • The conservatory has an independent heating system with separate temperature and on/off controls.
  • The glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with applicable building regulations.

If your conservatory does not meet these conditions, you will need to obtain building regulations approval to ensure your project complies with the UK’s health, safety, and energy efficiency standards. Our experienced Architectural Designers can help you navigate this process, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Addressing Specific Questions on Conservatory Planning Permission

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into some frequently asked questions about conservatory planning permission.

What is the maximum size conservatory without planning permission?

As mentioned earlier, your conservatory can extend a maximum of 3 metres from the original house for an attached house or 4 metres for a detached house without needing planning permission. Additionally, it should not cover more than half the area of land around the original house.

What is the 4-year rule for a conservatory?

The four-year rule refers to a time limit within which a local authority can take enforcement action against unauthorised development. If a conservatory has been built without planning permission and has existed for more than four years with no enforcement action taken, it may be deemed lawful. However, relying on this rule can be risky, and it’s always best to ensure your project complies with the relevant regulations from the outset.

How big can a conservatory be without building regs?

A conservatory can have a floor area of up to 30 square metres without requiring building regulations approval, provided it meets the other conditions mentioned earlier.

Do you need foundations for a conservatory?

Yes, foundations are essential for ensuring the stability and longevity of your conservatory. The type and depth of foundations required will depend on factors such as ground conditions and the size of your conservatory. Our Architectural Designers can advise on the best foundation solution for your project.

Will a conservatory increase council tax?

Adding a conservatory to your property could potentially increase your council tax if the improvement results in your property being reclassified into a higher valuation band. However, this is generally unlikely unless the conservatory is particularly large or luxurious.

Is a conservatory with a solid roof still a conservatory?

A conservatory with a solid roof is still considered a conservatory as long as it meets the relevant criteria outlined earlier. However, replacing a glazed roof with a solid roof may require building regulations approval due to potential changes in energy efficiency and structural requirements.

What makes a conservatory not an extension?

A conservatory is distinguished from an extension by its construction materials, predominantly glass, and the way it is separated from the main house with external-quality doors or windows. In contrast, an extension typically consists of more solid construction materials and is fully integrated into the existing building.

Remember, when it comes to your building project, an informed decision is the best decision.



As always, thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is intended to provide a general understanding of the subject matter. It is not intended to provide specific advice for any specific circumstances. Always consult with a professional before starting any construction work.

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In conclusion, understanding conservatory planning permission and building regulations can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. With expert guidance from our experienced Architectural Designers at Shear Architectural Design, you can confidently embark on your conservatory project, knowing that it complies with all relevant UK planning permission and building regulations.

If you have any further questions or need assistance with your conservatory project, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’re here to help you create the perfect glass getaway for your home!


At Shear Architectural Design, we’re passionate about helping our clients bring their vision to life. From gaining planning permission to providing expert advice on design and materials, our team is here to support you every step of the way. Explore our portfolio for more inspiration and get in touch with us to start your journey towards your dream outdoor space today.

Working with an Architectural Designer can help you to achieve your goals and ensure that your project is a success. Shear Architectural Design is a reliable and experienced company that can help you with your home renovation, building project or garden project, in Sussex.

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At Shear Architectural Design, we offer a range of services to help you bring your Passive House vision to life:

We assist with gaining planning permission and building regulations, ensuring that your project meets all necessary requirements.

Contact us today, on 01273 740642 to learn more about how we can help you create the home of your dreams!

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