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’?
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.
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.
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:
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.