Architect Your Home With Architects Near Me – Sustainable Architects

How To Make A Successful Planning Application

Once you have a scheme for your project – hopefully from your Architect Your Home design consultation, your next step is probably to get planning permission.  There are scary stories about how difficult this is and how long it takes etc., but with the right professional help from us, it should be a reasonably straightforward procedure.
So let’s look at what you and your architect need to do to get it ‘right the first time’?
It takes:

  • The right scheme
  • The right kind of application
  • The right paperwork
  • Avoiding objections from neighbours

1. The right scheme

Our architects do their homework in relation to your council’s local development plan and supplementary documents (which is where the detail hides) so they know – in advance of the design consultation, what size, style, etc., the council will accept in terms of an extension or alternatively they will stick scrupulously within the limits for permitted development, and thereby deliver a scheme that is right for your brief, your home, your budget and very importantly tone that will be passed the local planning authority.

2. The right kind of application

All applications are now done online through the Planning Portal, posted paper submissions are not accepted. There is guidance to help you choose the right application form, which can be any of the following.

Permitted Development (PD) means obtaining a Certificate of Lawfulness for the Proposed Development to confirm your works do not require planning permission.

Outline Planning Permission Applications look to establish whether the scale and nature of a proposed development would be acceptable.

For Full Planning Permission, there is a ‘Householder’ form for domestic schemes, that exceed the permitted development criteria, this cuts out all the business questions.  But remember there is no Permitted Development for flats, this leaves even modest extensions on the full-fat application form.

If your home is in a Conservation Area then ‘heritage consent’ is needed. This used to mean two forms and two sets of drawings, but the portal’s technology now does this for you, but you must select the Conservation or Listed option when starting. You will need either a separate Heritage Statement or include this as part of a more comprehensive Design and Access Statement.

3. The right paperwork 

The first hurdle your application needs to get over is Validation.  The Council will comb through it to see if anything is missing, which is often the fee! This can be three weeks or more after you sent it in, and the start date gets delayed if they find a ‘gap’. Each council has a validation checklist, so check this and make sure you have the site area, postcode, flood risk zone (and a flood strategy if it’s in ‘zone 3’). Also permitted development forms ask, ‘why is this PD?’ so have the answer ready.
Attachments regularly required are:

  • A Location Plan based on the Ordnance Survey map at a scale of 1:1250 and a larger scale ‘Site Plan’ at 1:500.
  • A Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Form 1. There’s no levy on household works, but councils still demand the form to save them from having to check.
  • Since most council officers are still not visiting the site, they require a full set of recent photos of the house from all sides and of any neighbours’ windows that face the site.
  • If there are trees close by, you will need a brief report on how these are to be protected. To take them out may warrant a full report from a qualified tree surveyor.
  • In London, you will also need to provide a Fire Safety Strategy (even for the smallest works), the Land Registry title number and whether your home has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
  • Household applications ought not to need a Design & Access Statement, but often this is the best way to explain how your scheme meets the councils policies.
  • A full set of drawings of the property and site as is now (existing) and another for the proposed changes, noting what the new external materials are going to be. All drawings need the scale and paper size noted, a scale bar that can be measured and a North Point – which is often missed off and delays the validation. Drawings of all four elevations are required, if it’s a terraced house, add a note on the elevations sheet saying so, or even better show the front elevation in context with the houses on either side. If your scheme is Permitted Development show the written dimensions for the key sizes ie. depth of extension, height to eaves etc.
  • Finally check your drawings can be printed out to an accurate scale, then save everything as A4 or A3 .pdf files and attach them to your application and press submit.

    4. Avoiding objections

All applications are published on your council’s website, backed up with letters to neighbours and/or notices on the street. For a full planning applications allow a three-week window for comments. Remember if the boot was on the other foot you would want the council to listen.

Objections will suggest to the case officer that this unpopular application can be refused, and so your application has to be heard by the Planning Applications Committee, which can cause significant delays. So follow the above guidelines and make sure you don’t give them anything to complain about, show how you have limited any interference with your neighbour’s daylight outlook and privacy etc. and talk to your neighbours early and often.  Explain your scheme and how it has been designed to overcome any concerns and if you ask nicely, they might even write in support of your application.     
And finally…………. relax   

The target for most decisions is eight weeks, but almost all planning teams are short staffed and few applications are decided early.  Your case officer may not even see your file for the first six weeks, so there is no point in chasing them, you just need to be patient.

Good luck!