In most cases, the answer is yes, you need planning permission for a balcony although there can be exceptions for structures such as Juliet Balconies.
There are lots of reasons you might want a balcony added to your property. They add space and ventilation, provide you with an outside area, and raise the price of your property. Despite this, many are held back from this home improvement through fear of the official planning process.
Although planning permission for a balcony can seem daunting, it’s much less so when you only have to go through the process once. Luckily, when it comes to balconies, there are choices you can make early on which will improve your chances of success.
When you’re considering an addition to your home, you’ll need to know the answers to questions such as:
- Which balconies require planning permission?
- How do I apply for planning permission?
- How can I get the best chance of being granted planning permission?
- What happens if I am refused planning permission?
- What other regulations do I need to consider when installing a balcony?
All of which we’ll be covering in this post.
Which balconies require planning permission?
In the UK, any raised platform higher than 30cm is not a permitted development. This means that all floored balconies will need permission from your local authority. Roof balconies also need planning permission, since they must meet safety standards and may allow you to view neighbour’s gardens.
Juliet balconies, also known as balconettes, are comprised of french doors immediately secured with a safety barrier or balustrade. Since they are usually floorless, many do not require planning permission. However, there are exceptions, so it’s best to check with your local planning authority before proceeding with a build. Some of these exceptions include:
- If you live in a listed building or conservation area
- If Juliet balconies are an uncommon feature in your area
In some cases, you will also be able to replace an existing balcony with a similar one without requiring planning permission. Again, it’s best to check with your local planning officer before committing to the project.
What kind of planning permission is needed for a balcony?
If the balcony is being added to your own home, it comes under “extending or altering an existing residential dwelling”. As such, you’ll need to make a householder application. The process might be slightly different if you live in a listed building.
If you’re planning to build a balcony in a non-residential property, you may need to apply for a full planning application.
How much does planning permission cost?
The average cost for submitting a householder planning application is £206. There are some possible reductions and exceptions. Examples of this include if it’s a revision of a previous application or if the addition improves access, safety, or comfort in the home of a disabled person.
How do I apply for planning permission?
First, you will need to locate and contact your local planning authority. They will then request several documents. These might differ between various authorities, but often include:
- A signed application form, including a relevant certificate of ownership
- A site location plan
- A site layout plan
- Plans and drawings of your proposed balcony
You’ll usually be able to choose whether to submit these online or through the post. If you would like to see examples of applications for similar projects in your area, you should be able to view these through your local government website. At the same time you apply, you’ll need to pay any fee required for your application. If your property is listed, you may also need to complete a Design and Access Statement.
Your neighbours will be given some time to object to the project once your application is submitted. Your local planning authority will then decide whether to grant you permission, refuse permission or ask you to make a change to your plan. For example, moving the balcony to the rear of your building. In most cases, this should be decided within 8 weeks of your submission.
How can I get the best chance of being granted planning permission?
Despite the horror stories, planning applications are approved more often than not in the UK. However, if you’re feeling anxious about your chances, there are a few things you can consider when putting your application together which could give you a better chance.
Does your balcony plan fit with the exterior and period of your property?
This is particularly important if the balcony is planned to face out into the street.
Could your balcony intrude into a neighbour’s boundary or privacy?
The planning officers will take this into account, and neighbours may also object to projects which put them at a disadvantage.
Will your balcony cause a large shadow or a loss of light?
Again, particularly consider if this will affect any neighbours.
Will your balcony meet safety standards for preventing falls?
Safety Balustrades or railings should be at least 1100 mm high.
If you want the best possible chance of your application succeeding, you might choose to work with a planning consultant. Another route could be hiring an architect who is familiar with the local planning guidelines to draw up plans for your balcony.
What if I am refused?
This can be frustrating after spending so much time preparing, but don’t panic. Look at the “reason for refusal” – often you will be able to make a change that can get you permission in the future. You can resubmit the same plans with the amendments the planning officer recommended. Overall, planning permission is granted more than 85% of the time in the UK.
Another option is to appeal the decision. This can be a lengthy process, but for householder applications the success rate sits at about 36.25%, so it can be worth a try.
What happens if I build without permission?
We don’t recommend this. If anyone reports your project, you could end up having your balcony demolished before you’ve had a chance to enjoy it. The consequences can be even more dire if you’ve altered a listed building, since this is a criminal offense – you may even face jail time.
If you proceed with a project you do not have permission for, you might receive a notice from the LPA that they plan to take action. This could be to alter or to destroy your balcony. In this case, you could seek retrospective planning permission, but this may be refused. Enforcement action cannot be taken against you once 4 years have passed since your build.
What other regulations do I need to consider when installing a balcony?
You’ll almost certainly need building regulations approval for a balcony. Some things that will need to be considered when designing the balcony and choosing materials include:
– How safely any platform is secured to the exterior wall
– Is the balcony structurally fit for the use it will be put to (Storing a hot tub? Supporting two people on chairs? Used for parties?)
– How the materials used for the balcony might affect the spread of fire in the building
– How the balcony will affect the structural stability of the building
– How the balcony will affect the ability to escape the building during an emergency
– How well the safety balustrade or barrier will prevent falls
If you’re using frameless glass balustrades for your balcony, they should be of an appropriate height and strength to prevent falls. For more detailed technical regulations, you can look at Part K: Protection from Falling and Impact. There are also a set of British Standard regulations concerning safety balustrades which can be downloaded on their website.
At Bespoke Frameless Glass, we source and install both easy view and standoff Juliet Balconies. We also supply bespokely designed external glass balustrades for floored balconies. Frameless glass is elegant, secure and fits seamlessly into many types and periods of property. It can also provide you with uninterrupted panoramic views.