Planning Permission for a Loft Conversion above a Flat

27 Jun 2016
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United Kingdom
Hi All,

We're just considering the option to purchase the loft space above a flat with a view to converting it into a bedroom. However we would be keen to have an idea of the likely factors involved in a planning permission decision and request the experience of some of you out there. Note that this is not a thread about how we will acquire the loft as we understand the issues around leasehold, freehold, agreement with owners etc. and are also aware we can seek pre-application advice. We're after a 'heads up' so any advice would be much appreciated.

There are plenty of loft conversions currently on the street, with one currently under construction, however they are all terraced houses. This is a converted 3 level, 3 flat terraced house so applies to the upper flat. The question is, would there be any reasonable reason why planning permission would be refused for a loft extension above a flat, that is no different to any of the other loft extensions on the street (or indeed a more simple velux window to the rear). That's assuming that Building Regulations can be satisfied, including fire exit routes from the loft.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.
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So presumably you suspect that the other loft conversions were all done under Permitted Development? Given that you could theoretically purchase the flat(s) below yours, convert the property back into a house, and then do the loft conversion under PD, I can't really see that the LPA would have grounds to refuse this application - but there's only one way to be sure!
Yes, the others are likely to be are permitted developments. If the flats could be combined into a single house then the loft extension wouldn't be required!
just be aware if there are tanks supplying services to lower properties you cannot touch them without permission so keep this in mind
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Just converting the loft above my flat in to a bedroom, needed to get planning permission; even for three Velux windows.
Bit frustrating, all the neighbours have full dormers done under permitted development. Process was simple enough and drawings were all line drawings done over a few of evenings.

My local town planning office are dead set on denying planning permission for dormers, even seen enforcement action on one poor local resident. They were forced to take down a full dormer.
Hi LA, Thanks for sharing your experience and the information packed link, most useful! I'll do some research into the fire regs.
I suspect this wouldn't be viewed in the same way as a normal loft conversion would, as you're extending the flat, and not the house. You're changing the flat into a maisonette, or in effect, to a two story property, and this wouldn't require any special measure. But planning officers being a law unto themselves, you can't take anything for granted.
You're changing the flat into a maisonette, or in effect, to a two story property, and this wouldn't require any special measure

It's the building that counts. HSBC would not be able to put a loft on the top of Canary Wharf, and claim it to be a two storey maisonette.
Doggit's comment is illogical- unless you construct a new external ground level at the entrance level of your flat - which might upset your neighbours
unless you construct a new external ground level at the entrance level of your flat

You've taken my point too literally Nakajo. A 2 story house doesn't require special fire regs, so why should a 2 floor maisonette. Fire regs kick in when you extend above 2 floors of a habitat, and the top flat is only 1 floor, which exits onto the stairwell of the building which acts as the escape point for each of the properties in the building.

As there's already loft conversions in other properties in the road, there's no reason why Planning permission would be refused, and it would only come down to the restrictions the planning department insist on. It then becomes question of what other implications there are in the potential conversion, and this gets muddied as it's a flat, and not a house.

And sorry Woody, using canary wharf is a bad comparison as it's offices, and not flats. If they did that, it would become the penthouse.
Fire regs kick when you reach a height above what can easily be reached by fire ladder
Yes.planning permission is required even if 1 velux window or a full dormer loft conversion.

Been there a few times,it should be no problem to get as long as none of your neighbours object (with serious objections thou).

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