Balconies are a wonderful luxury that allow a huge amount of light into a room while offering a little, private outside space. Unfortunately, adding a balcony to a loft conversion can be problematic, and can turn a relatively simple permitted development that requires planning permission and agreement from neighbours.
Why Add a Balcony?
The added light and ventilation can make a huge different to your loft rooms, and the space can be enjoyed in summer months (especially if you have a good view). Balconies can also be useful for smokers who do not want to go down 2-3 flights of stairs every morning/evening.
Balconies also make homes extremely desirable when they are on the market, so a loft conversion with a balcony could add more value than a loft conversion alone, or at least ensure that the house sells quickly.
Planning Permission and Permitted Developments
The government planning portal explicitly states that ‘no verandas, balconies, or raised platforms’ are allowed in a loft conversion that is completed as a permitted development. The latest changes to permitted developments placed a lot of stringent regulations on building elevated structures, so any platform or balcony over a foot high is subject to planning permission.
Planning permission may also be denied if the balcony will overlook neighbouring houses or gardens as it has an impact on their privacy. If the balcony is not visible from the street, or if it mainly looks into your own garden, you are more likely to have planning permission granted.
However, if you would like a Juliet balcony this may be allowed as a permitted development. Since there is no platform to stand on with a Juliet balcony, these are often treated like large windows. However, it is important to check that this is the case in your area, as rules and approaches vary.
Is It Worth It?
If you have always dreamt of having a balcony looking out from your bedroom, it’s probably worth the wait and additional cost of gaining planning permission. If you are creating a self-contained flat for lodgers, some private outdoor space could even add value onto the rent and help you get a larger return from your loft conversion.
But if you have a deadline for your loft conversion (for example, if adult children are moving back in), it is often best to proceed with the loft conversion. Once it is built, there is always the potential to apply for permission and add a balcony onto your loft conversion once it is in use. If this is your preferred approach, please do let us know and we will plan the loft conversion to allow for this change later on.