Do you need planning permission for an orangery?

Orangeries and garden rooms create more space in your home and completely change the look of your property, so it’s highly likely that you’ll need planning permission. However, if you don’t want to go through the complicated application process there are a few exemptions – so what are your options?

When it comes to extending your home with a glazed orangery or garden room, obtaining building regulations and assessing whether you’ll need planning permission seems to be the most obvious first step. While you might be dreaming of how your beautiful new rooms might look, you will still need to consider the planning regulations in your area and the realities of the application process. 

Unfortunately, we all know that the application process is not something most homeowners particularly enjoy, especially if they have a listed property or live in a conservation area that can make the process complicated. 

As a general rule, it’s always best to discuss your plans and ideas with a professional like an architect, chartered surveyor, or building design company, but there are some options you can consider if you want to extend your home without planning permission. Understanding the factors that will affect your planning requirements will certainly help you along the way, so here’s everything you need to know: 

Permitted development rights

If you’re certain that you don’t want the headache of applying for planning, then the first port of call is to check your area to see what the local planning implications might be and to see if your home has permitted development rights. Permitted development rights are an established grant that a house might already have in place allowing some building works to be undertaken without having to make an application for formal planning permission, as you would with a loft conversion or a new porch. Keep in mind that all permitted development requirements apply to the dwelling as it was originally built, or as it stood on 1st July 1948 – so you’ll have to take into account any changes that the previous owners might have made. 

You’ll have to make sure that your orangery or garden room extension adheres to some specific requirements to stay in line with your home’s permitted development rights. One great way of checking is online – the government’s planning portal has a handy interactive tool to help you assess whether your project is allowed under permitted development rights or you require planning permission. 

If you live in a sensitive location such as a conservation area, green belt, World Heritage Site, national park, or an Area of Natural Beauty, you will be facing stricter rules and regulations as to what you can build and you may need to apply for planning permission for projects that would not require permission if situated elsewhere. What’s more, your property’s permitted development rights may be removed in these locations under what is known as an Article 4 direction, designed to protect and maintain the character of a local area. As a general rule in these sensitive areas, conservatories, and extensions extending beyond any side wall of the original house will not be classed as permitted development, and you will need to seek planning permission – but as always, check with your local planning authority. 

If you live in a period property, you’ll need to check if your building is listed. It can be more challenging to obtain planning permission for listed buildings, as you will have to adhere to very specific regulations. Don’t let this put you off as planning permission can still be granted, you just have to go about it in the right way. It is vital that any extensions or renovation works do not interfere with the historical character of the building, and you’ll want help from the experts for this. 

Extensions that do not require planning…

Whatever size garden room or orangery extension you plan on having, it’s essential that you check with your local planning authority first to see if you have permitted development rights. These rights fall into different categories depending on the project, and extensions come under Class A. Your extension must not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house, which is classed as your property’s original boundaries as it stood on the 1st July 1948 (providing it was built before this date), so any past extensions or changes should be taken into account.


Previously you could build a single-story extension providing it accommodated the following requirements:

  • If your property is detached, then your single-storey extension must not go beyond the rear wall of your original house by 4m and by 3m if you have a semi-detached dwelling
  • The eaves of your extension should be no higher than the eaves of your existing house, with the highest part of yourextension not exceeding the roof ridge line. If your extension is within 2m of your property’s boundary however, it must have a maximum eaves height of 3m
  • Single-storey rear extensions on a detached house must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house
  • Side extensions can be up to half the width of the existing dwelling, and must be no higher than 4m
  • Rear extensions are allowed a maximum height of 4m

However, following recent changes that were made to permitted development rights on the 30th May 2019, larger rear extensions are now allowed but do require prior notification in the form of a lawful development certificate (LDC) – going up to 8m in depth for a detached house and 6m in depth for a semi-detached house.

Please be aware, these restrictions apply to houses, not flats or other buildings, and are dependent on the Neighbour Consultation Scheme, which means that you are still required to notify your local planning authority of your proposed work by a prior approval application and any adjacent land owners. 

No matter what you intend on adding to your home, as a garden room or orangery is designed to be used as an elegant living space, you may need to obtain approval under the building regulations. This ensures that your extension meets the relevant technical requirements and is safe for you and your family to live in. It covers a number of elements such as doors and windows, drainage, electrics, and structural openings. To avoid building regulations, any extension will need to be substantially glazed, smaller than 30m² and be thermally separated from the main house’s heating system.

Things to consider if applying for planning…

For garden rooms or orangery extensions that sit outside of this criteria, you will need to obtain planning permission. We recommend that you dedicate some time to research your local planning policies and seek pre-application advice from a building professional. They will also be able to advise you on building regulations, and whether you need to book in a special survey or gain a warrant in support of your application.

At Westbury Garden Rooms, we’re committed to providing a full ‘turnkey’ service to our clients and if planning permission is required, we will take on the responsibility of putting the application together and submitting it on your behalf.  

Our skilled CAD designers will draw your project to scale clearly and accurately so that your plans are fully understood by the local authorities. We’ll keep you informed of how the application is progressing, so you feel supported throughout each stage. We will also take care of any paperwork that might be required, from building regulations, SAP (heat loss), and structural engineer’s calculations.

Due to the nature of our work, we’re highly experienced in applying for planning permission on listed and period properties and can work with a trusted, independent planning consultant where necessary. For more information, feel free to contact us and someone from the team will be very happy to discuss things in more detail.