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Barn conversion example - pholiday let planning permission

As the self-catering market continues to grow, more people are thinking of buying a holiday home. Alternatively, those that already own a property are considering ways in which they can let it out to holidaymakers, convert outbuildings for unique letting experiences, or build properties on unused land. From luxury annexe, garage or shed restorations to eco-friendly barn conversions, there are so many potential investment opportunities for home owners. Before taking on an exciting project, it’s key to understand the importance of holiday let planning permission. So, we’ve put together a helpful guide to answer any potential queries you may have.

Salcombe holiday home example - holiday let planning permission


Use the quick links below to read about a particular subject, or continue reading for our full guide to holiday let planning permission:


What is planning permission?

Planning permission is a process that allows land and property owners to:

  • Build something new
  • Make changes to a building
  • Change the use of a building

Submitting a request for planning permission allows local authorities to determine whether or not to grant permission in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF sets out the government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied, in order to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest.

For more information, read the official government guide to planning permission.


What are permitted development rights?

outbuilding renovated to a holiday let - holiday let planning permission

There are some instances when you can perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These are referred to as ‘permitted development rights’.  These rules allow you to extend or alter a holiday home without needing to apply for planning permission, as long as long as the property receives building regulations approval. However, if qualified tradesmen are carrying out work for you, you will not need to get approval as long as they are registered with a competent person scheme.


What is allowed under permitted development rights?

Under permitted development, certain types of extensions and alterations to an existing property are permitted. Examples of what is permitted include:

  • Internal alterations
  • Converting a loft space
  • Adding rooflights or dormer windows
  • Building an extension

The extent to which you will be able to extend or alter your property, without the requirement for full planning permission, is dependent on a number of factors and permitted development rights are updated regularly, so ask your local planning authority (LPA) for the latest detail.

It is important to note that listed buildings have restricted development rights, as well as designated areas of the country including:

  • Conservation Areas
  • National Parks
  • Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • World Heritage Sites

You should always contact your local planning authority and discuss your proposal before any work begins, as they will be able to inform you of any reason why the development may not be permitted and if you need to apply for planning permission for all or part of the work.

For more information, click here to read the official government guide on permitted development rights and changes to the use classes order.


Is planning permission required for a holiday let?

holiday let planning permission - Slapton holiday cottage example

Letting an existing holiday property does not require planning permission, since there is no change of use, provided that you don’t intend to make any physical changes to the property.

However, if you’re thinking of holiday letting your home for the first time, converting an outbuilding or building a property on unused land, you will need to check the following:

  • The planning use class of your property
  • Commercial letting clauses
  • Mortgage letting restrictions

Generally, planning permission is not needed when the existing and the proposed property use fall within the same ‘use class’. However, if it does, the size and class of your house will determine whether you have to apply for a planning permission.

How to find the existing use and planning class of a property

Planning use classes are the framework which determine what a property may be used for. Finding out the existing use and planning class of your property is fairly straightforward. To do so, you will need to contact your local planning authority, who you can find details for on the Planning Portal website.


Do I need planning permission to convert outbuildings into holiday lets?

The type of permission required can be dependent on what sort of holiday let you are considering building, such as…

Agricultural barn conversions

Barn coversion holiday let -holiday let planning permission

Many farms across the UK have old or unused barns in the beautiful countryside – perfect for converting into holiday homes and generating an additional source of income. Optimising these structures is a popular choice and the good news is, that with the new ‘Class Q permitted development’ regulation, you may not have to go through the full planning permission process.

Can I use my annex as a holiday let?

outbuilding example - holiday let planning permission

Renovating unused buildings can be a great investment opportunity. If you have an existing outbuilding such as a garage, shed or annex that you intend to convert into a holiday let property, you will require planning permission for any modifications made, and you will need to apply for change of use for the building.

Lodges and log cabins

Lodge holiday cottage example - holiday let planning permission

Over the last few years, lodges and log cabins have become an increasingly popular way to spend a holiday. If your intention is to convert a space into a permanent lodge or log cabin, then planning permission and a change of use will be required.

To find out if your project will need planning permission, contact your local planning authority (LPA) or follow the government guidance on when permission is required.


Stages of planning applications

The planning application process is determined by legislation and designed to allow the input of experts and interested parties into the decision-making process.

  1. Contact the local planning department

Approach your local council for an initial conversation to seek advice on whether you need planning permission and what steps you should take.

  1. Seek advice

It’s important to get information and guidance from a planning authority or trade expert, such as an architect, who will be able to advise on your planning project. It’s worth seeking advice on whether your proposal is likely to be approved or not, so that you can make changes to ensure your application has the best chance of success.

This is also a great time to speak to your local holiday letting agency, who can offer investment advice and give you invaluable insights into potential booking levels and subsequent income. Here at Coast & Country Cottages, our New Property team are on-hand to offer advice to South Devon holiday home owners through every stage of letting, and with years of experience, our expert team knows exactly what makes a successful holiday cottage.

  1. Apply online

Apply for your planning permission via the Planning Portal from your Local Planning Authority.

  1. Submit your application

Submit your application with the necessary supporting documents and pay the correct fee.


How long does it take to get a decision on a planning application?

attic extension and balcony example - holiday let planning permission

Once a planning application has been validated, the local planning authority should make a decision on the proposal as quickly as possible, and in any event within the statutory time limits of eight weeks. Once planning permission is granted it is valid for up to three years. If you haven’t carried out the work within that time, you will have to re-apply.


How much does a planning application cost?

The cost of an application varies according to the type of planning you are applying for. The amount charged to update the ‘change of use’ to a property can cost £96.00, whereas a full planning application for conversions and building works may be up to £462.00. It’s advisable to visit the government website to find out what fee you can expect to pay.


What could affect the granting of planning permission?

There are many factors which could impact the granting of planning permission. Many of these can be specific to the area and unique to that local authority. Some of the common reasons are:

  • Having plans rejected by the planning authority because of errors in your application
  • Difficulty getting permission for listed buildings and homes in conservation areas
  • The time and expense of additional surveys
  • Objections from neighbours

There are a myriad of elements to consider when applying for a holiday let planning permission, so it’s best to seek advice from experts. Each local authority will have their own set of rules and regulations, so it is important that before you embark on any project, you seek the appropriate advice.


Whether you are considering investing in a holiday let in South Devon, or you need more information on how to start a successful holiday let business, call 01548 843773 (option 2) to chat to a member of our locally based team who will be able to help. Alternatively, click here to order a copy of our free Owners Guide.

* At the time of publishing Coast & Country Cottages has taken all reasonable care to ensure that the information contained in this article is accurate. However, no warranty or representation is given that the information is complete or free from errors or inaccuracies.