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Side Return House Extension

Updated: Nov 17

Everything you need to know about side return house extensions in London and the United Kingdom, including types of sidereturn extensions, what the planning rules are, costs associated when building a sidereturn house extension and frequently asked questions to bare in mind before starting your project.


Side return house extension
Side return house extension

Side return house extension
Side return house extension

If for you it is important to have open plan living space, larger kitchen or dining areas then extending your home at rear side would be an excellent choice. The sidereturn extension can easily create the extra space required at the back of your house.


What is a side return house extension?


A side return is an extension constructed on the empty space or to replace on old lean to or pathway at the side of the kitchen adjacent to the outrigger. Adding the sidereturn extension to this space essentially squares off the ground floor space at the rear of the property.


Side return extensions are an excellent way to open up the ground floor especially in terraced properties, adding light and space to the downstairs layout. Once completed a side return extension can transform a small dark galley kitchen into a spacious open plan kitchen diner with a view over the garden, a versatile, social space that will become the heart of the home. Have a look at the pictures below for an illustration of the configuration of a sidereturn extension.


Side return house extension before
Side return house extension before




Side return house extension before


The new extension will occupy the land at the rear of the house alongside the ground floor of the property.

In this example of a side return extension completed by LCCL construction there was an old lean to in place that had to be demolished as can be seen on the image.








Side return house extension structural alterations
Side return house extension structural alterations

Side return house extension structural alterations


The property can then be opened up at the rear by removing all or part of the ground floor side wall, introducing structural support in its place and incorporating the new extension into the existing rear ground floor space, creating one large open plan space that is much more versatile. Side return extensions are typically built for the purpose of creating a larger kitchen space overlooking the garden.







Side return house extension completed
Side return house extension completed

Side return house extension completed


As you can see with this example of work recently completed by LCCL Construction the result of a side return extension is a much larger kitchen space at the rear of the house. The new kitchen extension was built to allow the homeowners to install their dream kitchen which is far more spacious and user friendly with plenty of storage space and a kitchen island.









Side return house extension interiors
Side return house extension interiors

Side return house extension interiors


The new space inside a side return extension completely transforms the rear of the property making it light and spacious. Here you can see the inside of a sidereturn kitchen extension recently completed by LCCL Construction. The space has been opened up to accomodate the new large kitchen diner. 3 Velux rooflights in the pitched roof add ample light to the kitchen extension. The bi-fold door onto the garden adds an indoor/outdoor feel and creates a lovely view of the garden.







Before and after sidereturn house extension video below and kitchen extension, to find out more about this project https://www.lcclconstruction.co.uk/post/side-return-extension-in-finchley-n2-design-and-build-by-lccl-construction


Types of sidereturn extension and what do they cost?


Small Sidereturn Extension Pitched Roof


Small Side return Extension Pitched Roof
Small Side return Extension Pitched Roof


Design and Build Small Side Extension Pitched Roof to plaster finish.

Estimated cost: from - £46,000.00

Optional Extras:


  • 2 x Velux

  • Bi-fold doors

  • Kitchen

  • Floor finishing

  • Patio at rear of the property

  • Downstairs Bathroom




Medium Sidereturn extension pitched roof


Medium Sidereturn extension pitched roof
Medium Sidereturn extension pitched roof

Design and Build Medium Side Extension Pitched Roof to plaster finish.

Estimated cost: from - £53,500.00

Optional Extras:


  • 3 x Velux

  • Bi-fold doors

  • Kitchen

  • Floor finishing

  • Patio at rear of the property

  • Downstairs Bathroom



Small sidereturn extension with a flat roof


Small sidereturn extension with a flat roof
Small sidereturn extension with a flat roof

Design and Build Small Side Extension Pitched Roof to plaster finish.

Estimated cost: from - £45,500.00


Optional Extras:


  • Skylight or small lantern

  • Bi-fold doors

  • Kitchen

  • Floor finishing

  • Patio at rear of the property

  • Downstairs Bathroom





Medium sidereturn extension with a flat roof


Medium sidereturn extension with a flat roof
Medium sidereturn extension with a flat roof

Design and Build Medium Side Extension Flat Roof to plaster finish.

Estimated cost: from - £53,000.00


Optional Extras:


  • Skylight or medium lantern

  • Bi-fold doors

  • Kitchen

  • Floor finishing

  • Patio at rear of the property

  • Downstairs Bathroom



Large sidereturn extension with a flat roof


Large sidereturn extension with a flat roof
Large sidereturn extension with a flat roof

Design and Build Large Side Extension Flat or Pitched Roof to plaster finish.

Estimated cost: from - £56,000.00


Optional Extras:


  • 3 x Skylights on flat roof or 4 x Velux on Pitched Roof

  • Bi-fold doors

  • Kitchen

  • Floor finishing

  • Patio at rear of the property

  • Downstairs Bathroom



Do I need planning permission for a side return extension?


In many cases it is possible to build a side return extension as a permitted development project, this is not always the case though and in other cases a full planning application will need to be made to your local planning authority. At LCCL Construction our expert team will be able to help guide you through the process.

Rules, known as ‘permitted development’ rights, allow you to extend a house without needing to apply for planning permission if specific limitations and conditions are met.


For all extensions:

  • Only half the area of land around the "original house"* can be covered by extensions or other buildings.

  • Extensions cannot be higher than the highest part of the existing roof; or higher at the eaves than the existing eaves.

  • Where the extension comes within two metres of the boundary* the height at the eaves cannot exceed three metres.

  • Extension cannot be built forward of the ‘principal elevation’ or, where it fronts a highway, the ‘side elevation’.

  • The work cannot include:

  • verandas, balconies or raised platforms.

  • a microwave antenna (e.g. TV aerial or satellite dish).

  • a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe.

  • any alteration to the roof of the existing house.

  • On Article 2(3) designated land* the work cannot include cladding of the exterior.

  • The materials used in any exterior work must be of a similar appearance to those on the exterior of the existing house.


For single storey extensions:

  • Single-storey rear extensions cannot extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than four metres if a detached house; or more than three metres for any other house.

  • Where not on Article 2(3) designated land* or a Site of Special Scientific Interest; and subject to ‘prior approval’, the limit for single-storey rear extensions is increased to eight metres if a detached house; or six metres for any other house.

  • This requires that the relevant Local Planning Authority is informed of the proposed work via a prior approval application.

  • Single-storey rear extensions cannot exceed four metres in height.


For Extensions more then one storey:

  • Extensions of more than one storey must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than three metres or be within seven metres of any boundary* opposite the rear wall of the house.

  • Roof pitch must match existing house as far as practicable (note that this also applies to any upper storey built on an existing extension).

  • Any upper-floor window located in a ‘side elevation’ must be obscure-glazed; and non-opening (unless the openable part is more than 1.7 metres above the floor).

  • All side extensions of more than one storey will require householder planning permission.

  • On Article 2(3) designated land* all rear extensions of more than one storey will require householder planning permission.

Ref: https://www.planningportal.co.uk


What are the benefits of a side return extension?

Whether your aim is to increase the kitchen size, add living space, a utility room or create an open plan living space to meet the needs of your family the advantages of a sidereturn extension are numerous:

  • Utilise otherwise wasted space such as a side ally or lean to.

  • Improved saturation of natural light in the downstairs areas through addition of skylights/lanterns

  • Create space for a large open plan kitchen diner and casual living space where everyone can spend time together

  • A utility room or pod can be added to free up space in the kitchen and reduce noise from washing machines/dryers

  • Create much needed extra storage space

  • A private internal courtyard can be created if requested

  • Extra 16m2 to 30m2 of additional space

  • Potential for additional space to be added to the first floor too in some circumstances

  • If the garden space is small this is a good solution

  • A new patio area can be added to the outside of the extension


Is my house suitable for a side return extension?

The sidereturn extension can be created on terraced houses, end of terraced houses, semi detached houses or detached houses including Period style properties, Edwardian, Victorian or modern homes that have space to the side of the ground floor outrigger/kitchen or even to infil alongside an existing rear extension that is not full width.

What kind of layout can I expect internally?

Internally the rear house extension can have a large kitchen with the kitchen island, underfloor heating, upgraded electrical and plumbing solution. Typically homeowners are trying to achieve a spacious open plan layout with a side return extension, to increase the kitchen size, improve levels of natural light with velux skylights and create a view of the garden with increased glazing to the rear of the extension. As well as the large open plan kitchen living area other popular additions to a side return extension include the installation of an understairs wc and construction of a utility room or utility cupboard to house all the laundry equipment out of the way.


What type of roof can I have on my side return extension?

Features of a Sidereturn extension with a pitched roof - the pitched roof would be covered in roof tiles such as clay, concrete or slate tiles, velux lights can be installed to the pitched roof, at the rear of the wall there can be various types of glazing but the most common are bi-fold doors, sliding doors, crittall or french doors. The finish of the exterior walls comes in render, brick finish or cladding such as zinc clad. In addition a new patio can be added towards the rear of the property to create an outdoor seating and dining area outside the new extension.


As seen in the image below of a side return kitchen extension designed and built by LCCL Construction with a pitched roof, covered with slate tiles and incorporating 3 Velux rooflights


Side return house extension with flat roof or pitched roof feature
Side return house extension with flat roof or pitched roof feature




Side return house extension with flat roof or pitched roof features - the roof is all on one level with only a very slight pitch to prevent water pooling. There are many options for flat roof coverings such as mineral felt, GRP, torch on felt, EPDM, fibreglass or GRP to name a few. In terms of glazing features include options similar to above except the flat roof would have flat roof skylight or lantern added instead of velux windows.





How much value will a side return extension add to my home?

A sidereturn extension brings many benefits to the house and naturally homeowners are keen to find out if the work completed adds value to the property. According to The Times Money Mentor (source https://www.thetimes.co.uk/money-mentor/article/best-ways-add-value-home/) building a sidereturn extension can add around 15% to the value of the existing house. It is also widely thought that having a large open plan kitchen makes a property more easily saleable.


What is the cost of the loft conversion and house extension? You can use our "instant quote calculator" and find out the cost in seconds! for both design and build, architecture services or just construction services depend what stage you are in and what you have so far completed. We have experience of over 15 years in design and construction of loft conversions and home extensions in London and Hertfordshire areas and have worked out a unique calculation formula that you can find out to what your house extension and loft conversion will cost in seconds. How can Lccl Construction be of help? Do you require a loft conversion and house extension to add extra space? Do you require architecture design and construction services? Then look no further get in touch with us for a detailed free no obligation quote. We can accommodate a very quick turnaround. Our loft conversions and house extensions come with 10 year guarantee and 12 month workmanship guarantee. Use our instant quote calculator for a quote about your project whether construction only or design and build. Use our Free consultation call booking system to schedule a call at the time and date that suits you best. LCCL Construction Telephone: 020 8037 7332 Email: info@lcclconstruction.co.uk Web: https://www.lcclconstruction.co.uk Free consultation call: https://www.lcclconstruction.co.uk/book-online Instant quote online: https://www.lcclconstruction.co.uk/instant-quote How does it work? https://www.lcclconstruction.co.uk/how-does-it-work

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