Thatched cottage Oxfordshire

Specialist building designs

If you are planning alterations or extensions to a listed building, are in a conservation area, a thatched property or a church, there are some additional factors you will need to consider and it is likely that you will have to get special permissions from relevant authorities.

For listed buildings, any alteration or extension which might affect the building’s character will need Listed Building Consent from the Local Authority. Planning consent may also be required depending on the type of modifications you are intending to make, and this can be a complex area. Historic England have a useful web page about Listed Building Consent and Planning permission. However, just because a building is listed does not mean it cannot be changed. It does mean that the Local Authority must and balance the historic significance of the building with its function.

If you are located in a conservation area, planning permission is required for any demolition.

According to the Thatch Advice Centre there are at least 60,000 thatched properties in the UK and approximately 75% of these are listed properties. In addition to any considerations needed for a building’s listed status, fire regulations need to be taken into account when planning any alterations.

high level plan for extension to thatched cottage

Please don’t let these planning requirements put you off the idea of making changes to your listed or thatched property but please do find a qualified person who can help you design the alterations appropriately and navigate the planning process. I have experience in this area and can advise on what may and what may not possible and then work with you on the project design before submitting the package of documents to the planning authority.

An initial feasibility study is strongly recommended to help understand the options available, avoid costly mistakes and to appreciate the full costs and timescales of the project.

I also have some experience with designing alterations and extensions to churches and can help in understanding your both your building and your vision. With your approval I can then go ahead and produce appropriate designs for approval and further development. There are some useful pages on the Church of England website about church alterations and extensions.

Self-build is an option that some people choose if they want to create a home that exactly meets their needs as well as saving money but, as the name suggests, it requires the owner to be very involved in the work. Such projects require careful consideration and we can advise on options that may be available as well as providing design drawings and helping to navigate the planning process.

Please contact us if you would like to discuss changes to a listed property, a self-build project or alterations to a church or other religious building.