We are getting planning permission for a record number of roof extensions at appeal

For most people, extending their house at roof level (by building a dormer or mansard) can be done using permitted development rights.

a rear dormer roof extension

However, not all houses have permitted development rights and flats don’t have any permitted development rights at all.

Those homeowners need to apply for planning permission for their extensions and are often frustrated to find planning permission refused.

Councils dislike larger roof extensions. Most have guidance limiting the size of dormers to half or two-thirds of the roof. Almost all rule out front and side dormers and many have a real dislike of any crown roofs, mansards and any kind of extension that increases the ridge height.

So what to do? If refused planning permission, it is important to consider an appeal. We have written before about how some roof extensions only really get through at appeal (check out this post for example).

In December, we won three appeals for dormer and mansard roof extensions in just three days.

The first was an L-shaped mansard roof extension to a flat in Lambeth. The council didn’t like it, but the inspector pointed out that the development was well designed and to the rear where it would not be seen from the street.

The second was a mansard roof extension to a Victorian terraced house in Bromley, next to some locally listed buildings. This extension was very much visible from the street (it created a whole extra floor), but was traditionally designed and, the inspector decided, would fit in well with a diverse and eclectic streetscene.

Finally, in the most satisfying victory of the three, an inspector granted permission for a rear box dormer to a converted flat in a semi-detached house in Enfield. Absurdly, the council had refused permission even though the two houses to either side had exactly the same extensions.

Permission was refused at this flat (red dot) even though both neighbours had built similar dormers!

In the past, we have found it difficult to get roof extensions past appeal inspectors, but in recent years our success rate has improved dramatically. Inspectors seem to appreciate that large dormers and mansards are now ubiquitous and an established part of our urban environment. They don’t necessarily look out of place and councils should not cleave so rigidly to their guidance (which is often now seriously out of date).

If you have been refused permission for any kind of roof extensions, contact our chartered town planners for help and advice. We are householder planning appeal specialists – no one knows more about how to get planning permission for extensions 🙂