Space is a problem in London. Finding a house in the capital which is both big enough and in a location you want can be a challenge.
Compounding this is cost and with Londoners needing an average deposit of £106,577 to secure a home, it makes sense for those short on space to consider a home extension as the answer to their prayers.
However, depending on which area you live in, the chances of achieving planning permission can vary greatly. Online furniture retailer, Furniture Choice, has uncovered the London boroughs which are least and most likely to approve home extensions, highlighting the best and worst areas for homeowners who may consider an extension in the future to buy in.
In 2016, there were 7,855 extension applications submitted in London, of which 4,134 (53%) were approved, and 3,721 (47%) were rejected. A further 7,969 extensions that fell under permitted development rights were carried out in London without a need for planning permission.
The London boroughs most likely to approve planning permission are:
1. Tower Hamlets (100%)
2. Hammersmith and Fulham (86%)
3. Enfield (86%)
4. Ealing (80%)
5. Hounslow (80%)
6. Greenwich (79%)
7. Croydon (79%)
8. Kensington and Chelsea (75%)
9. Richmond upon Thames (73%)
10. Waltham Forest (68%)
The London boroughs most likely to reject planning permission are:
1. Redbridge (88%)
2. Haringey (87%)
3. Barnet (86%)
4. Harrow (86%)
5. Brent (84%)
6. Newham (82%)
7. Barking and Dagenham (81%)
8. Lewisham (81%)
9. Bexley (80%)
10. Kingston upon Thames (75%)
Enfield made the most applications in London in 2016, with 1,347 residents applying for a home extension. Barnet (803), Ealing (717), Hounslow (568) and Harrow (446) made up the rest of the top five boroughs applying for planning permission.
When it comes to sheer numbers of extensions granted, Enfield (1,154) came out top once again thanks to the high acceptance rate of its local planning authority (LPA). 576 extensions were approved in Ealing, 453 in Hounslow, 305 in Waltham Forest and 295 in Croydon.
All planning permission applications made in London need to adhere to both the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the London Plan, an overall strategic plan for London, setting out an integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of London over the next 20–25 years.
Semsettin Karahan, Architectural Designer at Zanoply, advises on how to increase the likelihood of achieving planning permission for an extension: “A successful extension design should be influenced by local and national planning policies; the local planning policies should inform the appearance, and the national planning policies should inform the scale of the extension. The site also plays a crucial role; check if your immediate neighbours have also built an extension.”
Five top tips to consider when extending your home
• Cellar opportunities - Converting an existing cellar doesn’t normally require planning permission, although always check when adding in windows
• Right to light - Your neighbours have light rights, and can oppose an extension if it blocks daylight from their property. Avoid doing so to improve the chances of being approved
• The finer details - Ensure all conservatories and lean-tos are separated from the home with good quality exterior doors to please insurers
• Insurance - Make sure to get site insurance while any work is ongoing, to cover both the works and your existing home during construction
• Permitted development - Even if you think your extension doesn’t need permission, always check before work begins.
Tom Obbard at Furniture Choice said: “Finding the right home, in the right area, at the right time can sometimes seem unattainable. As well as being a potentially more affordable way to upsize, extending your home improves your chances of getting the exact house layout you want. Plus, there’s no stress of packing everything up and getting to know a new area.
It’s much easier than people think to apply for planning permission and most applications can be carried out online. Depending on the size of your extension, it might even fall under ‘permitted development rights’ with no permission required. Of course, it’s best to speak to your local planning authority just to make sure, in case your house or area has certain rules.”