Air Conditioning units and Planning permission

With the British weather and the temperatures constantly fluctuating from reaching record highs in the summer, hardware stores can quickly sell out of both fans and portable air-conditioning units.

It seems the only way to keep cool when the weather becomes humid, is to have a back-up plan of walking through the freezer isle of the grocery store!

There is, however, a better way, which involves installing a permanent AC unit(s) on your property. The fans and motor box are normally mounted on an external wall and housed in an acoustic enclosure. The benefit is that you can can have comfort Cooling on demand.

If you are looking to install air-conditioning units on your property it is highly advisable to obtain planning permission beforehand as they constitute development. You will also need to  be mindful of the historic status of your property e.g. Is it listed, a building of townscape merit, locally listed or in a conservation area.

What do I need to submit with my application?

Each Council has its own Planning validation criteria, meaning there is a certain minimum level of information that they require in order to register your application. For example all Council’s will require a site location plan, scaled drawings showing the existing and proposed layouts etc. 

You will normally need to provide a  noise impact assessment. The purpose of this is to prove that the proposed AC unit(s) would not create undue noise disturbance for neighbouring occupiers, in particular local residents. It is invaluable to have a technical assessment of the potential noise impact of the proposal and any mitigation measures.

Submitting a planning application for this type of development will normally involve the preparation of architectural planning drawings detailing the size, and location of the proposed plant. In addition to this and dependent on your local Council’s planning validation criteria a noise impact assessment may also be required.

How long does a planning application take and what happens?

 Once your application has been submitted it will be checked for completeness i.e. go through the validation process. In addition to this local residents, amenity groups will be consulted and will normally be given 21 days to respond . 

From the time it is submitted and importantly validated it will normally take the Council 8 weeks to reach a decision. Of course  it could take longer if the case has to be referred to Planning committee.

It should be noted that some Council’s have huge backlogs and it will take the weeks to register and validate your application. However, if your application contains all of the necessary documentation they will backdate the validation date so you don’t lose anytime.





If you would like to discuss your proposals and planning permission then please call Yussuf Mwanza on 020 8 995 7848

Yussuf Mwanza is a Chartered Town Planner and is founder and Managing Director of MZA Planning with over 30 years of planning experience gained in Local government, the private sector and The Planning Inspectorate.