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Guides

Can I Build a House on My Land?

Can I build a house on my land

Yes! However, the development has to be in the best interests of the local area. Building a house on your land has many advantages, and the greatest number of single plots for self-builders are carved out of existing properties.

Whether you’re fencing off land or creating a driveway to access spare land at the front or rear, there are considerations and pitfalls to account for. If everyone in the UK could build or use the land for anything they wanted wherever they wanted, it would be chaotic.

The planning system is in place to ensure this doesn’t happen. Read on to find out everything you need to know about planning permissions to build a house on your land.

What is Planning Permission?

To build a house on your land, you’ll need planning permission from your local authority, ensuring the development is in the local area’s best interests. The Council issues planning permission, a formal document allowing development at a particular site.

The planning permission is attached to the land, and anyone can implement it, even if they’re not the ones who applied for the permission in the first place. When you apply for planning permission, the Council will consider all national and local planning policies together with the local community’s views and statutory consultees.

Types of Planning Permission

Different types of planning permission exist, but the most common ones include:

Outline Planning Permission

The outline planning permission is a simple application you make to your local authority, informing them of your intent to build a house on your land. It enables you to know whether you can even build on the land and what size of house you could build.

An outline planning permission isn’t a legal requirement when you’re looking for planning permission. It only includes a brief outline of what you plan to do, and in-depth details of your intentions are not required.

Full Planning Permission

You must check with your local authority to determine whether you’ll need full planning permission. Generally, you’ll need full planning permission if you want to:

  • Build something new on your land.
  • Make major structural alterations.
  • Demolish existing buildings.
  • Build extensions to your property.
  • Change the main use of your building.

Projects that have no impact on the environment or your neighbours don’t require planning permission. Under community rights in England, neighbourhood planning allows your community to grant permission directly, and you’ll not require the usual planning permission. It’s usually the case if your project benefits the community and the community supports it.

Also, some developments or small additions and improvements are normally allowed under your permitted development rights.

What Are Permitted Development Rights?

Permitted development rights allow small, minor improvements like modest extensions or converting a loft into your home. These can be undertaken without clogging up the planning system.

The level of work you can undertake under permitted development rights depends on different factors that include:

  • Any development is already done on the land.
  • The location since conservation and natural beauty areas have different rules.

Projects that usually have permitted development rights are like:

  • Warehouses and industrial premises.
  • Particular advertisement and outdoor signs.

Decisions on Planning Permissions

Once you’ve applied, your local planning authority (LPA) decides whether or not to grant you planning permission based on its development plan. Various things are looked at when deciding whether your planning application fits with the development plan, including:

  • The number, layout, and size of buildings and their external and siting appearance.
  • The available infrastructure like water supply and roads.
  •  Any landscaping needed.
  • Your intended use of the development.
  • How the surrounding area will be affected by your development.

Generally, decisions on planning applications are made within eight weeks, but it can go up to 13 weeks for unusually complex or large applications. You’re allowed to appeal if the decision takes longer.

Why not visit or contact your local Ashtons branch?

Possible Access Issues

Access may be an issue you need to consider if you share access or drives with one or more dwellings. You may have to accompany an access and design statement with your application when you plan to build a house on your land.

It’s usually a report that justifies that the design is suitable for the environment where your house will reside and that there’ll be sufficient access for potential users.

Generally, the access and design statement is required to ensure you’ve carefully considered the impact of your development on surrounding areas. It also includes its effect on locals who may have young children, are disabled or older.

Beware of Covenants

It’s vital to remember that although planning permission means you may develop your land, it doesn’t always mean that you can. The consent can be rendered inoperable if there are any legal impediments in the form of covenants against further development.

Covenants, also called burdens in Scotland, attach to the title of the land or garden. They’re often placed by previous owners and are binding on any current or future owners. You need to be aware of any restrictive covenant that prohibits any kind of development on the land or specifically excludes the building of a house.

If you hope to build on land with such a covenant attached, you may have to agree with the beneficiaries. It usually involves paying up to a third of the uplift in value from a useless land to a developable plot. Breaching a covenant without consent can result in expensive injunctions.

Planning Permission Conditions

You may also be granted planning permission, but with certain criteria, you have to meet within a specified time frame. Such conditions can be as simple as only using particular materials that match existing ones or ensuring all boundary treatments are adhered to.

The conditions are usually important, and failing to comply can result in a breach of condition notice. These have no rights of appeal and can be enforced prosecution by the courts.

Final Thoughts

Three quarters (75%) of all planning permissions are approved in England and Wales, so you have a high chance of building a house on your land when you apply. The most important thing is to ensure your plan fits with the local authority guidelines.

If you’d like to find out more about how Ashtons can help you contact one of our branches for further information.

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