You’ve got your new basement conversion all planned out. You’ve designed the ultimate underground games room, or maybe you’re excited to build an extra bedroom, bathroom or living room.

You’ve picked out the flooring, furnishings and decor, but wait, do you need planning permission for a basement? Before you get carried away, it’s important to know which planning laws and building regulations you need to follow when converting a basement. Otherwise, you could be in trouble with your local authority.

If you’re designing your dream cellar conversion, the expert team at Danford, Brewer & Ives is here to explain everything you need to know about basement planning permission.

What Is Planning Permission?

In the United Kingdom, planning permission is the consent that may (or may not) be required from your local council or authority in order to build a new structure or property, or to alter an existing one.

Planning permission exists in order for the local authority to control building standards, to ensure there are no conflicts with an existing property, and for many other reasons. Failure to secure basement planning permission when needed may result in prosecution and fines, and you could be forced to remove any changes that have been made to the property.

However, not every change or building project requires planning permission. It largely depends on the extent of the change or construction, and what the new or altered structure will be used for.

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Basement in the UK?

So, do you need planning permission to build a basement? The answer to this question isn’t straightforward, so it’s important that you seek the advice of a basement conversion specialist like Danford, Brewer & Ives when you start planning your dream conversion.

There are several, often complex factors to consider. The UK government explains that there are three instances when ‘you’ll probably need planning permission’:

  • When you build something new
  • When you make a major change to your building
  • When you change the use of your building

This means that if you are building a brand new basement that involves digging down and underpinning a property, you will most likely require planning permission. However, if you already have an existing cellar space that you intend to either renovate or extend, it will be unlikely that basement planning permission is needed.

Things get more complicated if you are planning to use the basement space as a dwelling. If the basement is going to be a new residential unit where somebody lives, then you will need planning permission to build this. This means that if you have an existing cellar space that you are converting into a studio for a lodger, for example, you would need to secure planning permission.

There are other instances where you may also need cellar planning permission, so it’s always important to check with a professional. For example, if you live in a listed building or in a conservation area, you will also need basement planning permission.  

If you’re unsure and are still asking the question, ‘Do I need planning permission to build a basement?’ then always seek professional advice before beginning a project. In fact, even if you’re certain that you do or don’t need planning permission, given the complexity and potential penalties involved, we always recommend seeking professional advice first.

How Long to Get Planning Permission in the UK?

Applications for planning permission are either approved or denied by the local planning authority in your area. However, all applications can now be made online through a dedicated Planning Portal.

This speeds up the process, but it may still take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks for the local authority to process your application. In busy times, this could take even longer, so make sure you start planning early!

How Much Does It Cost to Get Planning Permission in the UK?

When you’re budgeting your basement conversion, you need to factor in the cost of securing planning permission, if needed. Each planning application incurs a fee, which is paid to the local planning authority to cover the costs of processing the application.

This fee is set by the UK government and is standardised, but it may change each year. Different types of building work may also incur different fees. Currently, these fees start at £96 per application.

What Happens If I Don’t Get Basement Planning Permission?

If you forget to apply for planning permission or discover later that you require planning permission for work that’s already been completed, it is possible to apply retroactively.

This retroactive application process means that, in theory, it’s possible to begin building a basement without permission, thereby saving time on the project. But you’ll need the expertise of a professional to ensure that nothing is missed that would result in the application being denied.

If you don’t secure basement planning permission for your new conversion, you could find yourself in serious trouble. If it transpires that you do, in fact, need planning permission and the planning authority denies this retroactively, then you will be asked to remove the alteration or change. This would mean undoing the work that’s been completed, which in the case of a basement could be as complex as the installation. You could also be subject to fines and prosecution if you fail to abide by the planning rules or fail to remove the completed work when asked.

Contact‌ ‌Danford,‌ ‌Brewer‌ ‌&‌ ‌Ives ‌for More Information on Basement and Cellar Planning Permission

For‌ ‌more‌ ‌information‌ on how to get planning permission for a basement or cellar conversion,‌ then‌ ‌please‌ ‌contact‌ ‌our‌ ‌friendly‌ staff ‌on‌ 01765‌ ‌804050‌ ‌or‌ ‌fill‌ ‌in‌ ‌our‌ ‌‌online‌ ‌contact‌ ‌form‌.‌ ‌ ‌

Our‌ ‌experienced‌ team ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌on‌ ‌hand‌ ‌and‌ ‌ready‌ ‌to‌ ‌offer‌ ‌expert‌ ‌advice‌ ‌tailored‌ ‌to‌ ‌resolve‌ ‌your‌ problem.