Converting your loft in a conservation area: what you need to know | Landmark Lofts

Converting your loft in a conservation area: what you need to know

For most homeowners, a simple loft conversion can come under permitted development, with no need to apply for planning permission. But if your house is in a conservation area, there are a few more steps you have to take.

What is a conservation area?
Since 1967, the UK has designated specific zones as conservation areas for their special architectural and historical interest. Your local authority has the power to designate a conservation area under Section 69 of the Planning Act 1990. They also have extra powers to control building works. For homeowners, this means your neighbourhood is protected from unsympathetic development damaging the look and feel of where you live.

How do I know if I live in a conservation area?
If your property is in a conservation area, it may have influenced your decision to purchase it, so you’ll already be aware of many of the regulations. However, if you are unsure, your local authority will have information regarding conservation areas in their borough, and how living in one might affect any plans you have for the property. Find website and contact information for all the London boroughs here.

Can I still have a loft conversion if I live in a conservation area?
While those who own properties in conservation areas benefit from higher price appreciation, they also need to obtain planning permission from their local council before making alterations to their home, for example, external cladding, inserting windows, and installing satellite dishes or solar panels. This also goes for adding extensions and carrying out loft conversions. Failing to do so is a criminal offence and can result in a hefty fine (and the additional costs of returning the building to its pre-altered state).

What will the planners assess?
Unfortunately, each local authority has its own set of planning guidelines for conservation areas, meaning there are no hard and fast rules to follow across the city. It’s worth keeping in mind that these guidelines are not intended to prohibit London homeowners from making improvements to their properties, but are in place to ensure the look and feel of the existing building and its area are maintained.

The integrity of the design and materials used are important factors in the local authority’s decision in granting planning permission or permitted development for your loft conversion. Planners will also look at the impact on the roofline, privacy, the loss of light and nature conservation. While it might seem intimidating, it’s worth bearing in mind that a loft conversion in a conservation area is typically subject to far fewer additional regulations than a ground-floor extension.

What can I do to increase the chances of planning permission being granted?
While some types of loft conversion are more likely to receive planning permission than others (less intrusive roof window conversions versus dormer conversions that impact the roof line, for example), planners assess each case individually. It’s essential that you understand the regulations and work them to your advantage – presenting accurate drawings and making a compelling case for your development. To increase your chances, it’s worth hiring a specialist team, like Landmark Lofts. We have existing relationships with planners across London and are experts at avoiding pitfalls and securing permission.

If you live in a London conservation area and are considering a loft conversion,
contact us on 020 3150 0505 for a free design consultation.

Landmark Lofts is part of the Landmark Group - the only group in London specialising in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments to include a Chartered Building Company (CIOB), Chartered Architectural Practice (RIBA) and to be regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). The Landmark Group specialises in the project management of loft conversions, extensions and refurbishments.

Click here to learn more about these regulators and why they're so important for you.

Royal Institute Chartered Surveyors
Chartered Institude of Builders
Roya lInstitude of British Architects
loftconversions in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz
loftconversions in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz
loftconversions in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz
loftconversions in London, Greater London, UK on Houzz

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