North Laine History

Home General Histories Buildings Streets People Talks and Walks The Conservation Area

What are Building Regulations

and Planning Permissions?

So what are the controls that may affect what we do to our properties? The first thing to think about when considering any development or refurbishment (to the interior as well as the exterior) is whether the project will need to have planning permission and/or a separate Building Regulations application.

Building Regulations

Building Regulations are the national standards that apply to most types of building work and exist to ensure that the environment in which we live is a safe and healthy place and that buildings are sustainable, energy efficient and provide easy access for young, old, sick or disabled people. Building Control inspects and approves plans and building work.

Changing the internal layout of a property can transform a house but it may be necessary to contact Building Control as some internal walls are fundamental to the structure of a house and some walls provide fire protection. Local authority building control teams are always available and work with householders, architects, builders and trades people to achieve the national standards. It is the responsibility of the householder to obtain Building Control approval.

To find out whether you need Building Regulations consent contact the Council's Building Regulations Enquiry Line on 01273 292050.

Party Wall Act

If you need to carry out building work to a wall shared with your neighbours, the Party Wall Act comes into play. This is a legal requirement that is totally separate from Planning and Building Control. As well as affecting party walls, it can also apply where you want to excavate foundations within 3m of an adjoining property and can also affect boundary walls. Given the unknown nature of many of the foundations of North Laine houses and of the sewers which may lie below our houses, this is a critical requirement. If the Party Wall Act applies, this means having to appoint a Party Wall Surveyor.

Further information on this can be found at

Planning Controls

The main controls governing what we can do in North Laine are those provided by Planning Controls. North Laine has been a Conservation Area since 1977 and this has meant stricter planning controls that outside conservation areas. In addition North Laine is subject to an Article 4 Direction which provides additional controls. This was introduced in 2005 as between 1977 and 2005 there were no controls over the changing of doors, windows and roofs. This resulted in a deterioration of the character of the area and was deemed necessary to protect the Conservation Area. To find out what living in a conservation  area means click here  to go  to  a page on Planning  Permissions for Conservation Areas and  for Listed Buildings.