So You Can’t Have A Conservatory…

Conservatory’s have always been desirable additions to make to a property. They add extra space, they connect the house to the garden, they are lovely to sit in in summer in the sunshine, or in winter listening to the rain and wind outside. They also let a lot of extra light into the rest of the home. The problem is, there are several reasons you might not be able to have a conservatory including:

  • The necessary means to actually have one built.
  • The ‘right to light’ law means your planning permission has been turned down.
  • The design of the conservatory may not be deemed acceptable to neighbours and may therefore be turned down.
  • You may be trying to build in a protected habitat, so you can’t build because the habitat is protected by law.
  • The building may count as an environmental issue and so, planning permission may be turned down.

There are lots of current laws and legislations surrounding planning permission, and unfortunately it may be that the property you are in cannot be extended in that way.

So what now?

First and foremost you need to let go of the idea of a conservatory, because that simply isn’t the destiny of your home. It was most likely a big dream for you, because it isn’t cheap so you’re likely to have really wanted it to put plans in to make it happen, and that is really hard to digest. But, there are other options for you, that can give you many of the positive points of having a conservatory, without the extension itself.

Light, Light, Light

One of the biggest aspects of a conservatory is the light it brings in. You get to sit in a lovely light room, and the connecting room benefits from this addition of natural light as well. One easy way to get around this, is by investing in bifolding doors. Just think about it. Instead of a big, dark wall cutting you off from the garden, you might not have a conservatory but you will have a big beautiful set of doors that let light in and connect you to the garden. Timber orangeries could also be an option. 

A Lovely Outdoor Space

You may have nicely trimmed grass, some well kept flower beds and perhaps a table and chairs outside, but you don’t have an outdoor space that is essentially another room. A space you can relax in, do work in, entertain in, during all weathers. If you can’t get a conservatory, why not use that garden space to make a ‘garden room’? The key to this room being multifunctional is weather control. Whether it is decking or concrete you’re sitting or standing on, you should have adequate weather protection above you so if it rains, or if the sun is really hot, you have protection. Other ideas to make the perfect garden room are:

  • Adding heating gadgets like an outdoor heater so you can enjoy the space no matter what the weather
  • Adding seating you absolutely love, so you feel comfortable in that space
  • Adding lighting like outdoor fairy lights so the space can be used after dark
  • Adding gadgets like a pizza oven or chiminea (with adequate ventilation) so you can have fun cooking outside as well

Add A Sun Room

A sunroom is often mistaken for a conservatory, but it is not the same thing. A conservatory is often fully glazed, whereas a sunroom has a roof with tiles and offers more protection from the sun. Your sunroom should be OK under Permitted Development laws as long as it hits certain rules such as:

  • Not being bigger than 30 metres square
  • To be single story and no higher than 4 metres
  • To not extend out further than 6 metres on a semi-detached property, or 8 metres on a detached property
  • To be completely free of any porches, verandas or balconies
  • To stand lower than the existing roof of the property

You can check the criteria on the Government’s official planning permission website. This could be the perfect second option for you if you can’t have a conservatory because of planning permission.

See If You Can Get Round Planning Permission

Usually the only rules you can get around when it comes to planning permission relate to when neighbours disagree with your proposed plan. With the right to light law, you would probably need a specialist lawyer if you wanted to contest it as the rules around it are very blurry. If the neighbours are unhappy for any other reason, then you may well be able to adapt your plans to suit. If your heart is set on a conservatory, it may be worth the hassle of changing the plans to make the neighbours happy, and get planning permission.

Add A Summer House

A summer house is a building you have in your garden, but it is not attached to it. A summer house will usually fall under the ‘outbuildings’ category which means it should come under permitted developments. However there are limitations with wildlife conservation areas, listed buildings and other laws and legalities – so always check before you build. If you are able to have one, although not attached to the house, this could be the perfect way to have an additional leisure space on your land.

Hopefully you’re feeling a little more inspired to move forward with your plans to have the home you really want. Remember, whatever puts a stop to your current plans, can always be manoeuvred around or worked with to create new plans, or get your current ones going again, you just need to do your research, make compromises and be persistent.


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