We are currently amidst a rare, global pandemic where unprecedented volumes of people are currently ‘working from home’. This is familiar territory for some; those content to work from laptops / tablets or perhaps in a dedicated home office. For many however, it has meant that they have had to convert dining rooms, bedrooms and other spaces ad hoc.
There have been predictions that beyond this time, a new wave of home working could be the preferred means of conducting certain business. Those who have grown accustomed to it may see benefits in reduced travel, (including of course reduction in CO2 emissions), costs, time wasted during commuting and simply being close to home and family.
It may therefore be worth exploring, particularly if the home cannot be extended / altered, converting an existing outbuilding or building a new home office or studio (fitness, photography etc), within the curtilage of the dwelling.
New Build – Permitted Development
A new outbuilding could be achieved via Permitted Development (Class E) provided certain criteria are met and is only applicable to houses. Full details are available from the Planning Portal however a simplified summary is as follows:
(i) On designated land e.g. Conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, etc. the outbuilding cannot be to the side of the house and there are limitations on size, depending on proximity to the house,
(ii) Outbuildings are not permitted within the grounds of a listed building,
(iii) Outbuildings cannot be forward of the principal elevation of the original house.
The same overall development area ‘50% rule’ applies as discussed in the blog Planning Permission v Permitted Development
It’s worth bearing in mind the outbuilding cannot be self-contained living accommodation. Also, it must be single storey and that maximum eaves and overall heights apply; if it is within 2m of the house, the whole building cannot exceed 2.5m in height.
New Build – Planning Application
The Permitted Development (PD) route is somewhat prescriptive and is therefore not always feasible. Sometimes PD rights may have been removed via a previous planning approval. Even if your proposals do not fit into these parameters, this should not discourage development potential. MKA have a wealth of experience in liaising with planning authorities and are able to provide an appraisal as what may be achieved, via the planning application route, subject to the designation of the land, the wider context and other factors. If a more bespoke solution is desired this may be justifiable, using the PD approach as a fallback, by expanding on these parameters in conjunction with the merits of the specific design relative to the site.
Existing outbuildings could be converted into a home office or studio. If the outbuilding is not residential designation, a Change of Use would be required via planning application. Also, please see our previous blog on barn conversions
If the existing building is to be powered and heated, then Building Control approval would be required. In conjunction with this, thermal insulation would be necessary; damp-proofing, ventilation and fire resistance would also be key considerations under the Building Regulations. Adequate daylighting and artificial lighting would be dependent on the proposed use.
MKA Architects and MKA Planning can advise on all the above matters and prepare the necessary designs and technical information, to suit Planning applications and Building Control submissions. Please contact us for more information on how we can help.