Statutory consents refer to consents that must legally be obtained before certain works/changes of use are carried out. In a residential context, these will typically be the requirement for planning permission for extensions and loft/basement/garage conversions. Planning permission will generally be required for all external works/changes of use that will alter the external appearance of a building (but subject to limited permitted development rights). The purpose of the planning system is to control the use and development of land and buildings in the best interests of the local community and the wider public. Building regulation approval will be necessary for most construction works (refurbishment as well as new build), both external and internal, and is designed to ensure that construction work meets the minimum standards set out in the building regulations. This is to ensure the health, safety and comfort of the occupants and the wider public. Certain works that may not require planning permission may require building control approvals. Typical examples would be the creation of an open plan layout (where an internal wall is removed) and the removal of chimney breasts. Properties located in Conservation Areas or those that are listed, will require special planning consents/building control approvals. In the case of Conservation Areas, the restrictions cover not only buildings but also the environment that they are located in (eg boundary structures and trees). The local authority’s planning and building control departments will be responsible for providing these statutory consents. Failure to obtain the necessary consents, can result in enforcement action being taken by the local authority.
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