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Lawsons are the largest independent timber, building & fencing merchants in London and the South East of England. Established in 1921 Lawsons now have a number of branches offering the complete range of building materials.

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The Tricky Business of Rules and Regulations

The Tricky Business of Rules and Regulations

Making some home improvements isn’t always quite as straightforward as you might hope. You may already be aware of the rules and regulations with regard to bigger changes to a property such as extensions or loft conversions, but you might not know that sometimes, even seemingly small changes need. Some issues which you might need to consider include;

The type of property in which you live

If your home is a listed building or even if it’s situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty, then you will definitely need planning permission even for very small changes. Anything which might impact on either the property or the view of the area would have to be carefully considered first.


You should of course, always seek permission to make major changes to any property and consultation with your local planning authority is a must if you want to add an extension to your home. Any addition to a property should be arranged through the proper channels. One clear guideline states that any proposed changes which will cover more than half of the land surrounding your property, will need planning permission.

This is especially pertinent for those people with smaller gardens who might be thinking about installing a large shed or cabin to use as an office; a growing trend these days due to a rise in the number of people who are working from home.

Internal changes are usually exempt from planning permission, so if you wanted to partition a room off, then usually no permission is required…. but it’s a good idea to seek advice from a professional builder before you knock any internal walls down!

Fences and gates

Ordinarily, you won’t need any permission to install a new fence or wall surrounding your property so it’s fine to go ahead and make changes. But if the planned fence exceeds two metres in height then permission is definitely required.

The exceptions to the fence rules are houses which border a public footpath or highway; these properties are only allowed to erect a fence of one metre in height…but you may challenge this if you have security concerns.

Another concern for people living next door to listed buildings is that your fence line will impact the appearance of the listed property if it borders yours. So again, planning permission will be required.

The best way forward with any planned changes is to first speak to your neighbours and then the local planning authority. The planning authorities are usually very helpful, and you can generally get over most hurdles through effective communication.

Remember to speak to your neighbours though just in case they have concerns about your plans affecting them in a negative way. People generally worry most about noise during works being carried out and about their privacy or view being affected.