What, exactly, is a porch?

Interestingly, there is no legal definition of a porch. Porches are generally small rooms that cover the entrance area of a building, but that is just a loose guideline. In fact, porches can be quite large, sometimes even wrapping around the entire building. For the purpose of clarity, we will just say that a porch is an extension outside an external door of a building.

Why would a porch be exempt from planning permission?

Some building projects, including porches, are considered to have already been granted planning permission through permitted development (PD) rights. This just means that homeowners are permitted to make small amendments to their homes without consulting with the local planning authority. It is always best to check with your local council, though, even if you believe your project falls under PD rights.

When does a porch need planning permission?

A porch that covers more than three square metres of ground area, including the walls, requires planning permission. Similarly, if the highest part of the porch is more than three metres tall or the porch will be within two metres of a boundary and the road, you will need to apply for permission. Additionally, an article 4 direction can give authorities the right to withdraw typical PD rights. Listed buildings fall under development rights that are far more strict than other properties, and this applies to buildings in designated areas, as well. Designated areas include Conservation Areas, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and World Heritage sites. It is very important to gain approval from the relevant authority if you live in such a property ad want to add a porch. Restrictive covenants, too, can prevent you from building on a porch.

Does location affect permission?

If you live in a converted house or a house created by permitted development rights change of use, it is important to verify whether or not you are subject to planning permission.

What about building regulation approval?

Building regulation approval is separate from planning permission. In regard to a porch, you will need building regulation approval on the windows and the electrical work. If you live in a house with ramped or level access for people with disabilities, you must make sure that your planned porch will not negatively impact this access.

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