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Planning Permission: The Ins and Outs

We all wish that when wanting to change something in our home, it would be simple and work could commence straight away. This is not the case. Planning permission has to be granted for a multitude of projects and can take up to eight weeks for your local planning department to determine the outcome of your application.

Here, we hope to introduce you to the ins and outs of planning permission to help you with the process.

Photo: nu:projects

Planning permission is needed for lots of reasons:

-You are building something new. If you want to build an extension to your home or do a completely new build, you will need to get planning permission. There are exemptions. For example, with permitted development rules becoming more relaxed, you can build a single storey extension up to six meters (or eight meters if you live in a detached house) without planning permission.

-Making a major change to your building. If you are wanting to convert your loft space and are wanting to change the original shape of your roof, you will need to get planning permission. Depending on the type of your home, you won’t need to get planning permission for changing such elements as the windows or doors. However, if you are changing the shape of a listed buildings windows, planning permission is normally needed.

Photo: nu:projects

It is worth saying now that planning permission rules can differ in different local planning areas, so it is worth going on your local council’s webpage to see what your council allow and don’t allow.

-Changing the use of your building. If you are thinking of changing your home into a commercial property, or a group of flats, planning permission is needed. However, check with your local authority first as it does differ.

In most cases, planning permission is granted and you can start construction work. However, sometimes it is denied or withdrawn. Listed below are a few possible reasons your local council may do this.

Planning permission may not be possible in principle. If you live in an above ground floor flat and you plan to extend the internal area over the smaller gross internal area, then this is not possible and you will need to modify.

You are unable to demonstrate the need for your development. If you are changing your property into a coffee shop, and there are eight other coffee shops on your road, the government are unlikely to grant permission because there isn’t a need. Find a reason for your development. Why does your area need the development and how will your area benefit from the development?

Your development could impact negatively on the surrounding area’s character and appearance. This is mainly the case for conservation areas. If you are placing an extremely modern new build in an area of listed Georgian properties, your application may be withdrawn because it does not fit the area’s aesthetic.

Lack of quality in accommodation. There are minimum space standards for properties. Especially with flats, if your proposed development falls below a certain standard for living quality space then your application could be denied. For example, if you are creating another bedroom and it is a small windowless space, permission may not be granted because it is not a good quality standard.

Photo: nu:projects

If you are denied planning permission on your development, you can obviously alter your plans and try again. There are ways to be granted permission; a new plan means a new application.

As stated above in the reasons for a withdrawal, if your plan doesn’t fit with the surrounding areas character and appearance, planning permission can be denied. But there are ways to change this. For example, if you have applied for a front mansard on a terraced house on a London residential street, it is likely to be refused because it interrupts the typical style of the buildings on the street. However, if you apply with a joint application for numerous properties on the street, it is more likely to be allowed. If a street has the same look down the entire street, and consistency is shown from the outside appearance of the terraced homes, then permission is more likely to be granted.

Hopefully this has made you more aware of the ins and outs of planning permission. Don’t let it stop you from making your dream home. Planning permission is on the whole granted, so come and visit us at our Fulham base to talk about your home ideas and get the wheel turning.

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