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Everything you need to know about side return extension on a Victorian terrace

Adding a side return extension to your Victorian terraced house is a great way to add the extra space you might need. Here’s everything you need to know.

4 min read

If you have a Victorian terraced house and you’re looking to extend, a side return extension (sometimes referred to as a side infill) could be an excellent option for you. A lot of Victorian terraced houses have unused alleyways to the side of their property – filling in this space squares off the space and creates extra room.

Advantages of side return extensions on Victorian terraces

Hang on to your green spaces compared to other common extensions, like a rear extension, side return extensions use up ‘dead space’ that’s not being used for anything else, rather than digging into your garden. This makes it a great option for anyone living in cities or other areas where green space is scarce.

Maximise your light

Whether you opt for glass bifold doors, skylights or a glass structure, side return extensions can be a fantastic way to invite more natural light into your home. There’s evidence to suggest that plenty of natural light is beneficial for wellbeing, making a side return extension a potential great investment in both your home and your health.

Adding natural light to your Victorian terrace side return extension

Save time

Because many Victorian terraced properties already have the space available to extend into and the added square metres are relatively small, they can be more time efficient compared with other projects. And, although the numerical value of the space might not look huge, the extra space can be really transformative.

Add value

Taking advantage of your unused space and creating even more room, light and character is a fantastic way of adding value to your property. So, when you invest in a side return extension now, you’re investing in better offers from buyers should you decide to move in the future.

What is the cost of a side return extension on a Victorian terrace?

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the cost of a side extension on a Victorian terraced home because each property and project is so individual. While we can estimate it will fall somewhere between £80-£120K, it’s not an exact science and will depend on a number of factors – from the size of the extension to the specific materials used, contractors and area you live in.

Please note that the above values are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a more accurate estimate, do take advantage of our Quick Quote Calculator.

Do you need planning permission for a Victorian terrace side extension?

Side return extensions don’t always require planning permission as they can often be carried out under permitted development rights. Some factors that may be taken into consideration are size and height of your proposed renovation project, whether you’re impacted by any listed properties or conservation areas and proximity to your neighbouring property. Use the checklist below as a rough guide for whether your project falls within your permitted development rights:

  • Sits to the side (as long as this will not face a highway) of the house (not the front)
  • Uses similar building materials to the existing house
  • Takes up less than 50% of the size of the land around the original house ("original" being the latest of when the property was built or if it was built before 1948, then as it stood on 1st July 1948)
  • Takes up less than 50% of the width of the original house
  • Is less than 4m in height (or less than 3m if within 2m of a property boundary)
  • Has eaves and a ridge that are no taller than the existing house

If you’re not sure whether your project falls under permitted development rights, book in a free consultation call with our friendly team today.

Do you need an architect for your side return extension?

As a general rule of thumb, if your project is going to alter the exterior of your property, we advise having an architect on board. It’s the best way of ensuring that your construction is as safe and legal as possible so that you get the aesthetic result you want with as few surprises on the way as possible. Read our guide to whether you need an architect for a 360 view of everything they can provide for you.

How long does it take to build a side return extension on a Victorian terrace?

As with any construction project, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how long a side return extension on your Victorian terrace will take to build. However, you can usually rely on a timeline between 3 and 5 months and (as we touched on before) having an experienced architect on board can really help keep you on track. For more insight into renovation timelines, check out our guide to how long renovations usually take.

Ideas for Victorian terrace side extensions

Side extensions open up a huge range of possibilities for your home – from sleek, open-plan kitchen/diners to naturally-lit home offices. If you’re looking for inspiration, don’t miss our completed Queen Mary Road renovation in Croydon for a sense of what side return extensions can offer a space.

Here’s a sneak peek:
Side extension on a Victorian terraced home© Veronica Rodriguez

Side extension idea for a Victorian terrace© Veronica Rodriguez

For more of a flavour of what we can do for you, don’t miss our completed side return extension project at Riversdale Road in Islington. And for even more inspiration, browse Grand Designs Magazine's Ultimate Guide to Side Return Extensions.

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