What is Planning Permission?
Planning Permission relates to changes in the appearance or use of buildings such as an extension to a house, or a conversion of a house into flats. Planning Permission should not be confused with the Building Regulations. Planning Permission can be one of the main hurdles to clear when thinking about making changes to your home and needs to be given consideration from the start, at Creation Design will be able to advise you of this during your initial visit. Planning Applications are handled by Planning Officers in the Planning Department of your Local Authority. For some minor or non-controversial issues the planning officers can approve an application under “delegated powers”, for the most part however, the decisions are taken by a committee of Local Councillors based upon the recommendations of the planning officers. It is usual for a planning application to take eight to ten weeks to process, so make sure that you have allowed for this time within your timetable, remember that there is always the possibility that your application may be refused, in which case the time needed for amendments and re-submissions can be even lengthier. A common misconception is that because other houses in the street have, for instance, roof extensions, this will automatically mean that yours will be allowed. Planning policy changes over time and has become much more stringent in recent years, the existing examples may have been allowed under rules that have now changed.
Outline Planning Applications
An outline planning application is normally submitted to find out if the local planning authority will grant permission without having full design detailed plans drawn up. If you obtain outline permission you later have to apply for full planning permission in the normal way. Outline planning permission is often used if you intend to sell the property and/or land to someone else and gain maximum financial return from it. If you go the outline planning first route, you will also have to spend two lots of planning fees.You will also have twice the wait.
Making a Planning Application
Planning Application are made to the local authority. The application includes several copies of drawings showing the existing state of the building and the proposals, site location plan and various certificates. Creation Design can perform this service for you if you. You will also need a ‘location plan’ at 1:500 scale (usually an extract from an Ordnance survey Map in digital data). We can get this for you. Once the application has been submitted, wait for at least three weeks before making progress enquiries with the planning department. If you find out who your ‘case officer’ is, you may be able to discuss the application with them. This can be useful, because they might be able to highlight a likely problem. This could enable you to make a change to your application that could make all the difference. Planning applications are meant to take 8 weeks from the received date by the local authority, but the received date can be some time after submitting the application! Allow 3 months to be on the safe side.
For small extensions and alterations, your proposals may fall within your ‘permitted development rights’ which means that planning permission will not be necessary. Creation Design can give advise on this but it is still a very important to check with your local planning department before proceeding and we would recommend that if permitted development does come in to play, you ask the department to provide you with a ‘certificate of lawful development’ to confirm this (there is often a small fee for this). There are a number of limits on height, volume (in cubic meters) etc. that your proposals need to be within for permitted development to apply. It is important to check with your local planning department or alternatively get Creation Design to do it for you.
Buildings of particular architectural interest are often officially ‘listed’ and thereby protected. Many residential buildings are ‘listed grade 2’ which means that all alterations (not just those to the outside or original parts) have to be approved under listed building consent.
Your Local Planning Authority could ask for various additional information to support the application. This could include:-
- Flood Risk Assessment (low lying areas)
- Design Statement (not normally required for house extensions)
- Bat Survey(endangered species)
- Phase 1 Land contamination Report (in area of industrial heritage)
- Noise survey (close proximity to main roads, railways, airports etc.)
- Horticultural surveys (large amount of shrubs and trees)
- Development Impact Assessment (for large developments)
- Anything else they feel like!
These are not included in the basic fee of your planning application. At Creation Design we can carry out Flood Risk Assessments and Design Statements at a small fee (see price guide). At Creation Design we can make arrangement for you, to employ these external private consultants at no commission The consultant will bill you directly
Planning Refusals – What Next?
Creation Design cannot guarantee that a planning application will be passed. If a planning application is refused, we cannot refund your money If any of your applications are refused, you do have the right of appeal, the arrangements for this are available from your local planning department. The Planning Inspectorate (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) rather than your local planning department, handles this appeal. At Creation Design we can do planning appeals on a no-win, no-fee basis. Alternatively you can submit an amended scheme to the local authorities satisfaction, local authorities will allow you to submit a revised planning application, within 6 months of a refusal free of charge. While there is usually no fee for going to appeal, you may well need a planning consultant to help you (which can be expensive) and the process can often take six months, so think carefully before going down this route. If your proposals are refused, or seem likely to be, you may decide to utilise a planning consultant. This is someone who can act for you, framing your application in the most favourable way and arguing your case.