How to succeed with the planning authorities
One of the biggest questions at the start of any building project is whether or not you need planning permission. Not all aspects of building development require permission and in certain circumstances development is allowed under the terms of Permitted Development. However, any material change to a building’s appearance does require planning permission and there are a number of good reasons for going through the process.
What is planning permission?
The planning approval process enables local government to monitor and control the nation’s property development. Development control departments will consider the neighbourliness of designs and the acceptability of the resulting building proposed for the specific area. This includes the condition of the amenities like rights of light or the existence of trees in the vicinity.
If trees over 75mm diameter exist, an arboriculture method statement BS 5837 (2012) may be required to ensure that no damage occurs to both the tree and its roots during and after construction. In addition, if the neighbours have enjoyed certain views and clear skies for many years, limitations may be imposed before planning permission can be granted.
These basic questions will all come under consideration during the planning approval process:
- Does the alteration increase the footprint size above 50% of the curtilage?
- Does the proposal exceed the height of the original roof?
- Does the proposed eaves height exceed that of the existing?
- Are the proposed works expected to front the highway?
- Is the side extension greater than half the width of the original house?
- Does the proposed roof exceed 4m, or does the eaves height exceed 3m?
- Is the proposal within 2m of the property boundary?
- Do the alterations include balconies, verandas or raised platforms?
- Are you installing or altering a chimney, flue or microwave antenna?
- Are the materials proposed unlike those used in the existing house?
Answering yes to any of these questions will put your development beyond the terms of Permitted Development Rights. These are your legal rights to alter your property under certain criteria.
When does Permitted Development apply?
Permitted Development rights give householders the authority to improve or extend their property if they follow certain criteria. Extensions to flats, maisonettes and listed buildings, however, are not covered. You can read more on your Permitted Development Rights here: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/
Under Permitted Development, it is possible to be given a certificate of Lawful Development by the Council for a particular home improvement or extension that would not have been granted Planning Permission. This is because the criteria for Planning Permission are more onerous than for Permitted Development. However, this also means a more limited opportunity to be creative with the property’s development.
How can my architect help with planning approval?
If you go ahead with a development without planning approval, it could cost you dear. It is likely the Council will insist on having it altered or even demolished.
Your architect can make sure you avoid such catastrophes by drawing and submitting plans, recognising whether or not your project requires planning permission and communicating with the statutory authorities. This will speed up the process and considerably improve your chances of receiving approval, although you should be aware that approval is never guaranteed.
Your architect will also advise you if your development is eligible for Permitted Development. Even if that is the case, though, it is advantageous to acquire a Certificate of Lawful Development from the planning authority. Whilst not granting permission, this confirms that the development is legal, which can prove very useful when you come to sell the property.