Mansard roof extension with terrace

It conflicts with national or local planning policy

Before buying a house or embarking on your extension project, it’s a really good idea to look into the likelihood of gaining planning approval for your dream home. The most hard-lined reason for refusal is that the proposal fundamentally conflicts with either national or local planning policy, or both.

However there are several other common reasons below – many related to the design – that are worth bearing in mind when thinking about your brief and developing the design with your architect.


Image above – roof extension design by Fiona, architectural designer from Hackney, London. See more and shortlist them for your home project here.

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Loss of light/overshadowing or loss of privacy

This can be a particularly common reason for refusal in dense urban areas. You should consider the impact of development from the point of view of those around you and how it will affect their living conditions.


Detrimental to visual amenity

Does your proposal have a detrimental visual effect on the neighbourhood, and therefore others’ enjoyment of the area? However, this doesn’t include blocking someone’s private view – this cannot be a reason for refusal in planning terms.


Appearance, design and materials

This is very subjective area for consideration. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need to copy design styles and features of surrounding buildings, although this approach, particularly in a conservation area, will sometimes be appropriate. However, a pastiche approach might even be seen as crude and unsympathetic, and a more ‘modern’ solution may be upheld as good design and praised by the local planning office.

The best thing you can do as a client is engage a great architect. A well considered, sympathetic design from your architect will help you tick this highly subjective planning box. And of course you want great design for your project anyway!

If you need some help finding a talented design-led architect for your project, find out how Design for Me can help you here.


Lack of precedent 

Related to the point above about sympathetic design is the matter of patterns in development, and especially where the proposal is out of step with other houses/extensions in close proximity.

For example, if yours is the first and only roof extension on your street it may be seen as setting a precedent that may be undesirable and/or would upset the rhythm of the roofline in a row of terraces. This is particularly pertinent in a conservation area.


Space and light standards

This is most relevant where space is at a premium, but your development could be refused for not reaching a high enough bar in terms of space and light. You should make sure you adhere to minimum space standards, and allow for a decent amount of natural light into habitable rooms.


Can a neighbour get my planning permission refused?

During the planning process your neighbours will be notified of your proposal and will be invited to comment. Whilst their opinions or objections cannot directly cause refusal, any relevant comments may be taken into consideration particularly in relation to loss of privacy or overshadowing as mentioned above.


Finding the right architect for planning application

Getting planning permission for development shouldn’t be your primary goal, rather you and your architect should strive to get the best outcome for your project and brief. This might mean that you start off with an ‘ambitious’ design in planning terms, which might (or might not!) need to be moderated. A good architect can help you arrive at the best design, and navigate the planning process to get this best outcome.


Design for Me is a free platform to help you quickly find the right design professional for your home project. My name is Emily Barnes and as a residential architect myself, I started Design for Me after finding that talented and innovative smaller firms and individuals, who are perfectly placed to design new homes, extensions and renovations, can often get buried under the online profiles of large commercial companies.

Before Design for Me, the right architect was very difficult to find!

Once you register your project, we’ll match it with 100s of top architects in your area and beyond, and you can see who may be available and eager to work on your project straight away.


Emily  Design for Me

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