With most building projects, whether they are large or small, it’s necessary to secure planning permission from the local council. This can come as a surprise to some people who, once they own the land, believe that they can do anything they like with it. However, in the UK, that’s just not the case.
When you don’t secure planning permission or you fail to adhere to the permissions provided, the council has the right to remove what has been built or request changes to adhere to approvals already issued. Often, there’s little wriggle room here, so it pays for anyone involved in building projects or renovations to appreciate when planning permission is needed. That way, they won’t make a mistake when it comes to the building process.
Know the Right Regulations for Starters
Planning permission guidance and requirements were different before 2018. Therefore, it’s necessary to obtain advice relevant to the period. Guidance has changed in 2020 and 2021 too, so it’s necessary to pay attention. If you don’t, the risk is that you’ll be working off incorrect intel and that could materially alter your planning along with reducing your likelihood of achieving the planning permission sought.
Planning Permission 101
It’s helpful to briefly cover what planning permission is and is not. This way, any initial confusion can be avoided which could send readers off in the wrong direction. When either planning to build on some land that you own, or making alterations to a home, it’s quite likely that permission must be sought. The local authority – usually the presiding council – are the gatekeeper of permission on new works on land or homes.
For clarity, while a home can often be changed internally in a minor way, such as by replacing the bathroom, adding an extension on the back is usually going to need planning permission. This is because it could be a safety concern, it may block rights of way, or it could even create a light blockage for neighbours.
Both local and national policies for planning are reviewed, along with the local community and other parties being considered. Many factors are considered before permission is granted.
Permitted Developments and Prior Notification
However, with most things in life, there are exceptions to every rule, and the same is true of planning permission. A few developments come under ‘permitted developments’ and do not need planning permission at all. There are also cases of prior approval.
Planning Permission Doesn’t Need to Be Singular
What do we mean by this? It’s possible to submit more than one application for planning permission. Each can be described differently based on different avenues or aspects given greater or lesser emphasis. It’s also possible to submit multiple approaches to development and see which one gets approved and which ones get denied. This is perhaps applicable when some development designs have different pluses or minuses but there’s uncertainty over how a council will react to each one.
Indeed, multiple planning permissions can be secured. You may choose to work based on a previously approved plan for the same land or existing property. It needn’t be the most recently approved if your plans necessarily change due to budget, available time, or other reasons.
Withdrawing Planning Permission Is Possible to Avoid a Refusal
It can be preferable to avoid getting denied planning permission. When you feel this way, it may be useful to submit a planning permission request and then discuss the matter with the council. Because the submission is on file, they know it’s not a hypothetical discussion.
Substantive information from the council discussion may confirm that the substance of the currently submitted application will not meet with their approval. Occasionally it’s necessary to read between the lines and other times it’s more obviously stated. However, a planning submission can be removed, updated, and resubmitted free of charge to address issues arising.
Don’t Forget About the Trees
While it’s difficult to ignore large trees on the property, they’re often overlooked when it comes to obtaining planning permission. This can scupper many a submission immediately, and that need not be the case. Obtaining a tree survey is necessary when one or more trees are situated close to where a home extension or other structure is planned for on the land. An arboriculturist is needed to produce a report that covers whether future development of local vegetation or trees would be impacted by it. For instance, Arbtech provide tree surveys using arboriculturists, and they have over a decade of experience. Their surveys require several days to complete and as you can imagine, they’re detailed and valuable when submitted with a planning permission request.
Other Factors That Affect Planning Permission Requests
Many factors are looked at to see whether permission should be granted. Here are few others:
Blocking of available sunlight – This can be a cause for concern. Neighbours expect to receive the sunlight that was possible when they first rented or purchased the property. Also, if the work will create an unreasonable disturbance, that could be taken into account too.
Poor infrastructure – When the current infrastructure won’t support the work, the application needs to take account of that, and the design plan needs to include ways to fully address it. Also, the layout, design, and materials used should be of sufficient quality to be convincing.
Nearby listed buildings – When there are listed buildings nearby, the developments shouldn’t create an unpleasant backdrop. Typically, applications need to be mindful of the surroundings.
Conservation areas – Similarly, places designated as conservation areas will be considered to see if the planned developments will have an undue effect on this area.
Incompatible uses – Another one is where the planned development isn’t compatible with what’s expected for the location, i.e., an industrial building in a residential street.
When you want to obtain planning permission, it’s not the nightmare that people say it is. While some councils can seem a bit more pedantic than others, they’re all just trying to protect the area from unwelcome development. By paying attention to the dos and don’ts, and getting appropriate surveys when relevant, it avoids the most likely causes of a declined planning permission application.
This is a promoted article.