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Company Registration No: 09871537

Registered Address: 14, Grove Park Road, London SE9 4QA

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Planning & Permitted Development

Planning permission is not always required for an extension. It’s not always a straightforward process and meeting clients today, it’s surprising how much confusion surrounds the planning process at the domestic level, despite government efforts to simplify it. 

 

Temporary legislation back in 2008 designed to free up the planning process, allowing slightly larger extensions, (up to 6m deep in certain cases) to proceed without the need for Full Planning Approval, under Permitted Development has been extended to 2019. However many proposals will still require Planning Permission, as to benefit from the relaxation, all your direct neighbours will need to agree.

 

NDA were asked to write about this for Mummy's Gin Fund to answer many typical questions about the planning process for domestic clients.

 

 

If you need further assistance, please feel free to contact NDA, whether or not you feel you need an Architect. 

 

The full article can be found here

Do you know what you want?

 

We tend to use our homes differently from season to season. For example, you might want to create a huge light open ground floor for summer parties, only to realise that you’ve formed a sterile box for the winter evenings, with no escape from the day that’s just passed.

 

Working with an Architect... one that can listen and understand you... can really help you assess your own feelings about your space and offer solutions that you might not have considered previously. They can also identify potential issues at an early stage and help you draw up a brief, identifying the most important issues and helping you fulfil your aspirations.

 

It's OK to take your time to adjust and figure out what you really need.

 

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You definitely need more space and you don’t want to/ can’t move. Then you need to extend… right?

 

Not necessarily. Every house is different. Your house might already have plenty of square footage, that’s poorly used. Even extended houses, when badly planned, might not deliver what you’re after. Internal reconfiguration, particularly of larger, broader, between the wars and mid- 20th century houses, may solve your spatial problems, without the need to extend.

 

Extend smartly and efficiently.

 

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What is permitted development?

What is permitted development?

 

Permitted Development (PD) allows you to carry out certain works, without planning consent.

 

It is, however, advisable to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness, when going down this route, which will demonstrate to future purchasers that the works are authorised. The most common works carried out under permitted development are Loft Extensions and Single Storey Extensions. So long as your project complies with the objective rules, you can simply crack on and do the work (in theory).

 

There are a number of criteria to be considered, so I’d still advise anyone that is considering this less formal approach to contact NDA, when going down this route.

 

Extend smartly and efficiently.Even if you extend using your permitted development rights, obtain a certificate of lawfulness to save hassle when selling.

 

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Someone told me I can extend 6m/8m from the back of my property at ground floor level …

Someone told me I can extend 6m/8m from the back of my property at ground floor level …

 

This is known as ‘Prior Notification’ whereby you consult your immediate neighbours (side and back), but no one else is consulted on the proposals. 

 

This legislation was designed to free up the planning process, where people would extend, say 3.6m to, perhaps to line through with an existing neighbour’s extension.

 

The assent of your neighbours is key… if your neighbour were to extend 6m/8m beyond your dining room window, would you be happy?

 

Again I would advise anyone to contact NDA, when going down this route.

 

The assent of your neighbours is key… if your neighbour were to extend 6m/8m beyond your dining room window, would you be happy?

This is known as ‘Prior Notification’ whereby you consult your immediate neighbours (side and back), but no one else is consulted on the proposals. 

 

This legislation was designed to free up the planning process, where people would extend, say 3.6m to, perhaps to line through with an existing neighbour’s extension.

 

The assent of your neighbours is key… if your neighbour were to extend 6m/8m beyond your dining room window, would you be happy?

 

Again I would advise anyone to contact NDA, when going down this route.

 

The assent of your neighbours is key… if your neighbour were to extend 6m/8m beyond your dining room window, would you be happy?

 

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What if my neighbours object?

What if my neighbours object?

 

Under the standard PD criteria (3m/4m) your neighbours would not be consulted, although it is neighbourly to engage with them once you know what you’re doing.

 

If your neighbours do object to a larger (prior notification) extension, you will need to go to full planning.

 

Your neighbours objecting will not guarantee a refusal, although in the case of a 6m extension, this may well be the case.

 

The main drawback is that if enough neighbours object to Planning Application (the number varies from borough to borough) you will need to go to a Planning Committee.

 

Neighbour objection need not mean a planning refusal.

Under the standard PD criteria (3m/4m) your neighbours would not be consulted, although it is neighbourly to engage with them once you know what you’re doing.

 

If your neighbours do object to a larger (prior notification) extension, you will need to go to full planning.

 

Your neighbours objecting will not guarantee a refusal, although in the case of a 6m extension, this may well be the case.

 

The main drawback is that if enough neighbours object to Planning Application (the number varies from borough to borough) you will need to go to a Planning Committee.

 

Neighbour objection need not mean a planning refusal.

 

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I need to apply for planning. What should I do?

 

Contact NDA.

 

Good internal design, might reduce the level to which you need to extend.

 

Conversely a well assembled application with a well-argued supporting statement will be more persuasive with the planners, should you really want to push the boat out.

 

Although only required in Conservation Areas, a Design and Access Statement helps to spell out less cut and dry cases.

 

Additional information, such as sunlight studies may also reassure planners. At the very least it will make them consider the case more carefully as you do have the right to appeal a refusal.

 

If your case is made strongly in the first instance, your chances are better at appeal and this may persuade the planners that this would better be avoided by granting consent in the first place, rather than facing the expense of a successful appeal.

 

We can present a strong, well-argued case.

 

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How long will it take?

 

The council should deal with a domestic Planning Application in 8 weeks from the registered submitted date.

 

As Planners need to deal with a certain percentage of cases in the 8 weeks, they will normally deal with straightforward cases (a definite yes or no) first. If your case misses the 8 weeks, there’s less incentive for the planners to be timely.

 

It is advisable for you or your Architect to track the application, particularly after all the neighbourhood consultations have been received. You may be able to adjust the application during the 8-week period to respond to any concerns that the planners or your neighbours may have.

 

Keep tracking your application and be prepared to negotiate.

 

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What happens at a Planning Committee?

What happens at a Planning Committee?

 

If enough people object (numbers vary from borough to borough), your case will be presented by planners to a select group of local councillors that make up the Planning Committee.

 

The planners will make a recommendation (ideally for approval) and you or your representative (ordinarily the Architect) will present the case and answer questions. Objectors may also speak.

 

Even when planners recommend approval, Planning Committees can unfortunately be political affairs, especially around local elections. Perfectly reasonable schemes may be rejected if there is well connected or vocal opposition and vice versa.

 

You have the right to lobby your local councillor, who may also speak on your behalf.

 

It’s remarkable how voting is often along party lines, with disregard for the merit of the case as presented by the Planners. This is another reason for presenting your application professionally in order to raise the spectre of an appeal. It’s not great for councillors to refuse a scheme and have an independent Planning Inspector disagree later. This is a reasonable consideration for councillors and is often raised at committees.

 

If you need to go to committee, consider lobbying your councillor.

If enough people object (numbers vary from borough to borough), your case will be presented by planners to a select group of local councillors that make up the Planning Committee.

 

The planners will make a recommendation (ideally for approval) and you or your representative (ordinarily the Architect) will present the case and answer questions. Objectors may also speak.

 

Even when planners recommend approval, Planning Committees can unfortunately be political affairs, especially around local elections. Perfectly reasonable schemes may be rejected if there is well connected or vocal opposition and vice versa.

 

You have the right to lobby your local councillor, who may also speak on your behalf.

 

It’s remarkable how voting is often along party lines, with disregard for the merit of the case as presented by the Planners. This is another reason for presenting your application professionally in order to raise the spectre of an appeal. It’s not great for councillors to refuse a scheme and have an independent Planning Inspector disagree later. This is a reasonable consideration for councillors and is often raised at committees.

 

If you need to go to committee, consider lobbying your councillor.

 

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What if my application is refused?

 

A refusal will list specific reasons and policies, when issued. If you’ve been in dialogue with the planners you may know, before a refusal is issued, what policies will be used to justify the decision.

 

Assuming it is too late to adjust the scheme, you have three options.

 

The first is to withdraw the application, although you may not wish to prejudice the records of your site with a refusal. Even if you feel justified to appeal, the process is long and the odds are usually against you. A withdrawal, adjustment and resubmission is much quicker and less painful;

 

The second is get refused and resubmit. Contrary to the above paragraph, sometimes, having reasons for refusal recorded allows you to respond to those specific issues, as long as you know what will be listed and feel that you can work with those reasons. This approach means that there is less scope for the planners to devise other reasons to refuse the scheme. This is less likely to be the case for a domestic application, but my advice is to contact a professional (either an Architect or Planning Consultant);

 

Thirdly, get refused and appeal. This is a long term option and as such is not practical for most domestic projects. Appeals take anywhere between 6 months and a year to resolve. The stats are roughly 2:1 in the planners’ favour. If you feel that this is your favoured route. I would definitely consider using a Planning Consultant.

 

Planning refusal is not the end of the line although it might be time to engage a Planning Consultant to discuss your options.

 

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I have planning consent. What next?

 

You have three years to commence the works, unless specifically contradicted by the consent.

 

Check your consent thoroughly, including drawing numbers and conditions. Check which conditions need to be discharged before you start on site. Failure to do so may invalidate your consent.

 

So long as all your pre-commencement conditions are discharged, if you carry out a material operation e.g. digging a trench, your consent is protected in perpetuity.

 

Get the works recorded and ideally inspected by Building Control. You only need to do a small bit, then cover it up.

 

Secure your planning permission, by starting within the three year period, or you might need to reapply. Planning policy changes and Conservation Areas can extend.

 

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