The Problem with many loft conversions.

Most Loft conversions require Planning Permission, and all require Building Control approval. These should be obtained before you commence building work. Many honestly believed these extensions to be permitted developments, and advised others that approvals are not needed, or that they could, "sort out Building Control later", and obtain approvals retrospectively.

Building Control Approval is not Planning Approval, usually you need both approvals, and it is essential to have these in place before you commence any building work.

Over the last 10-15 years there have been a large number of roof space conversions constructed without approval. In Ardoyne it is particularly noticeable. There is in excess of one hundred such structures in this general area.

In Ardoyne some have been clearly visible for well over a decade. To the best of our knowledge, there have not been enforcement proceedings issued until recently (3-4 years). The photographs below are a random selection of these structures. They are everywhere, and plain to see.

Unapproved loft conversions in Ardoyne


Planning officers would have frequented these streets on numerous occasions, and the extensions are clearly visible. So the following questions need to be asked;
  • Why were enforcement notices not issued when these unauthorised extensions first started to appear about 15 years ago?
  • If the Planning Service proceeds with enforcement, it can only do so against those built more recently. What exactly is achieved by enforcement if many remain standing?
  • Is there not a better, and more constructive way of proceeding?
  • Would an amnesty not be more equitable?
  • How do we maximise and extend the use of these affordable, building types?