image

Fancy a bit on the side?

Maximise the wasted space of your home’s side return by building an extension, says Julia Gray

If you live in a Victorian or Edwardian terraced house or ground-floor flat, you could be hiding an unlikely asset; the side return, the narrow outdoor strip of land created by one room (or rooms) – usually the kitchen or the bathroom – jutting into it.

The problem with this side return is that it’s too narrow to do much with as a garden, so it often just becomes a murky walk-way, a dumping ground or – even worse – nothing.

But it doesn’t have to be this way; think ‘inside’ not ‘outside’ and incorporate the side return into your home by building an extension.

It’s very likely this decision will increase the financial value of your house, but even if it doesn’t, you’re still guaranteed a fantastic lifestyle return with the resulting larger, lighter and generally more appealing room.

To expand your side-return, you remove the external wall that runs along it, fit a steel beam in its place, extend the roof and end wall, and build a new external wall at the boundary of your garden with your neighbour’s house or garden. Skylights are usually fitted in the new roof, which flood the extension with light.

Because the extension is (in most cases) built next to the boundary with your neighbour’s house or garden, you’ll have to comply with the Party Wall Act, which governs shared boundaries. Under the act, you must serve a notice on the adjoining neighbour, informing them about the work at least two months before starting it, although it can begin sooner if they agree. If they object or don’t respond within 14 days, you’ll have to employ a party wall surveyor, who’ll draw up an agreement between you and them. The neighbour may want to employ a different surveyor and you’ll have to pay for this as well.

The good news is that you often don’t need planning permission to extend into the side return. Most, although not all, houses have permitted development (PD) rights, which means you can extend them without planning, providing the extension conforms to the PD rules and regulations. For example, a side extension must be single storey, with a maximum height of 4m, or a maximum eaves height of 3m if within 2m of a boundary. On ‘designated land’, which includes conservation areas, side extensions are not permitted development. You can get an idea of what you can and can’t do at www.planningportal.gov.uk, where there’s an Extensions Guide, but check with your local council if in doubt.

The architect you use for the extension will be able to help with the planning process. They will also be able to project-manage the build and the contractors, if you want them to, or you can employ the professionals and contractors you need separately, or use a building company that’ll organise everything for you.

Side-return extensions generally take around two to three months to build and cost around £25,000 to £70,000. So yes, it’s a big investment, but think of the expanded family kitchen or the luxurious bathroom you will gain, and you’ll realise it’s a price worth paying.

The following two tabs change content below.
Hello ... I am the Creative Director and Website Editor for Silversurfers and manage all the social media too. I hope you find the features and articles we have shared with you of interest and relevance. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us ... I hope you enjoy Silversurfers and all that we offer ...

Latest posts by Silversurfers Editor (see all)

Leave a Comment!

Not a member?

Join the silversurfers community today! It's free, easy to do, and is packed full of features and amazing offers!

Join the community!
Click here if you have forgotten your password

Community Terms & Conditions

Content standards

These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.

You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.

Contributions must:

be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.

Contributions must not:

contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.

Nurturing a safe environment

Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.

We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!