Newly released research from Churchill Home Insurance has shown that approximately 39,200 retrospective planning applications have been filed for developments either started or completed during the last three years.
If a homeowner makes a change to their property that requires planning permission and they have not had approval, a local authority can request they submit a retrospective planning application.
With the costs of moving home so high, it is no surprise that home extensions are the most popular reasons for seeking retrospective planning permission. In the last three years, from the councils that responded, the most commonly reported reasons for applying for retrospective planning permission were single-floor extensions (2,218 applications), double-floor extensions (459) loft conversions (424), garage conversions (309) and open-plan spaces (106).
Relying on getting planning permission retrospectively is a risky business, as one in eight are rejected by UK local authorities. The most common reasons for authorities rejecting applications include the development being out of character (28%), loss of privacy (10%), highway safety (7%), overdevelopment (5%) and impact on nature (3%).
On a regional level, Scotland had the highest number of retrospective planning applications, accounting for 20 per cent (7,949) of all applications over the last three years. This was followed by London (5,612) and the South East (5,372), both receiving 14% of the UK’s retrospective planning applications.
Wales had the highest refusal rate, with more than a quarter (28 per cent) of retrospective planning applications refused. Around a fifth of applications were denied in both London (21%) and Scotland (18%). When looking at a local council level, the New Forest in Hampshire had the highest rate of refusals of anywhere in the UK, rejecting the overwhelming majority (92%) of retrospective planning applications.
Pritpal Powar, Head of Churchill home insurance said, “Homeowners are increasingly choosing to expand their current homes to accommodate growing family sizes, rather than move to a new house. However, before beginning any development, we encourage people to check whether they need planning permission and if they do, to wait until this has been granted before starting work.
“It is also important for householders to advise their insurance provider on any works they are planning, to ensure they have the correct cover in place for their property.
“Whilst any major household development is likely to come with a certain amount of upheaval, we hope that by taking these steps homeowners should ensure that they aren’t subjected to any unnecessary stress during the process.”