Planning Permission

The Planning Application System

Planning permission isn’t always required for a house extension. It may be that your project can proceed through the Permitted Development rules. However, if it is needed then the following process must be followed and permission granted before work can commence.

Works on site should not commence until Planning Approval has been granted (where applicable), and any works carried out need to comply with the approved scheme.

The planning system looks at the impact the development may have on the surrounding environment. There are a whole host of topics and compliance within current local and national planning policies that have to be considered. Listed below are some of the most common ones:

  • Scale
  • Massing
  • Materials
  • Access
  • Does it have an impact on the environment and indigenous wildlife?

Assuming the planning application gets validated, local authorities have a deadline to determine all applications within an eight week period (13 weeks for larger schemes). Councils can avoid this by refusing to validate the application. It is therefore important to comply with the validation requirements which are different for each project and each Council.

Generally speaking the application needs submitting with a site plan, any additional studies or surveys, an architectural plan of the existing building and the proposed extension. We can also commission specialists to provide supporting information whether it relates to bat surveys, other wildlife habitation or traffic studies.

The planning application fee for English householders is currently set at £172.00, although this is subject to change.  A detailed list of current fees (England only) can be found on the Government’s Planning Portal website.

The Planning Officer will go through the consultation process with neighbouring properties and other councils before making a recommendation for approval or rejection and any conditions. This is then checked by a Supervising Officer or sent to a planning committee.

Once approved you currently have three years in which to ‘implement’ the development. You do not have to complete the development within this period to keep the approval live, but you must begin work.

Planning Permission Conditions

When a planning authority issues a Planning Approval Notice, there will be a series of ‘Conditions’ on the Notice (in most cases). The conditions could relate to further surveys to be undertaken and submitted to the Council, eg, Bat Survey or Tree Survey. We can commission these surveys on your behalf. The conditions could be as simple as the property can only be inhabited for one household and not sold separately (eg, a Granny annexe). Conditions regarding car parking spaces are common.

Planning Permission Appeal

Should a Planning Application be refused or you are not happy about the conditions, there is a complex and costly appeals procedure. In these situations we advise our clients to think carefully before embarking upon an appeal and to consider whether or not the benefits of appealing are significant enough to warrant the costs involved. On the whole it is not worthwhile taking the matter further unless the decision to refuse is legally and fundamentally flawed.

It is usually cheaper and easier to resubmit the application, perhaps with amendments (taking the feedback given in the refusal notice). If this is done within 12 months there is no additional fee.

Should you wish to appeal a refusal we would refer the matter to a Town Planner and also to a specialist legal team for advice.