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40,000 retrospective planning applications in three years

The UK has seen nearly 40,000 planning applications filed retrospectively for developments in the past three years, research from Churchill Home Insurance has revealed.

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.

A single floor extension is the most commonly reported retrospective planning application recorded since the start of 2017, with 2,218 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.”

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 risky, 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%).