HELP & ADVICE 

What is Planning Permission? 

Planning Permission is a formal, written permission from your local authority which is required in order to build on or alter an existing structure. It is typically requested when you’re looking to make an alteration, extension or other type of associated works. It is also required for most types of new residential or commercial property/premises. 
 
Why do I need Planning Permission? 
 
As a whole, Planning Permission looks to ensure that your project will be of benefit to you and will not have a negative impact on those who surround your property either immediately or within the vicinity. 
 
Whilst there are often similarities, each authority has its own policies which set out how they will deal with the different types of development and what needs to be taken into account. 
 
Matters such as the impacts on the landscape, heritage buildings, residential amenity and the streetscene are part of the many checks which are undertaken by the local authority in the Planning Application Process, along with involvement from other consultants who deal with matters such as wildlife, trees and archaeological specialisms. 
 
There are various types of Planning Permission which can be obtained, and these are subjective to which permissions you are seeking and the type of development intended within your scheme. The most common types of application that we handle are listed below for your consideration – 

Outline Planning Consent 

Or, where permission is required to secure the principle of developing a site (for example, where the site is to be sold with planning permission for someone else to develop). They are used for a range of applications, and can be a very cost-effective method of securing permission for intended small or large scale developments such as building a new house on a plot of land. 

Householder Planning Consent 

Extensions (Single and Two Storey) 
Conservatories, and anything similar in appearance e.g. an Orangery 
Garden Rooms 
Outbuildings 
Loft Conversions 
Garage Conversions and; 
Swimming Pools 
*This list is not exhaustive 
 
The householder planning application is the most common application we utilise in our day-to-day business activities as the majority of our clients are domestic, who are looking to improve and develop their homes or rental properties. 

Full Planning Permission 

These larger developments tend to consist of works as follows: 
 
Any works relating to a flat. 
Applications to change the number of dwellings on a plot, such as flat conversions. 
New Build developments, either on the land inside a freehold or a “blank canvas” purchased plot. 
Changes of use to part or all of the property to non-residential (including business) uses and vice versa. 
Anything outside the garden of the property, including stables, if in a separate paddock. 

Lawful Development Certificate: Proposed or Existing 

It will ensure that at such time you require any proof that the works were undertaken via the Permitted Development route (such as selling your house at a later date) you have received the council’s authority to do so in writing before the work was started and developed at the relevant address. 
 
There are informative sources online which specify that you do not need to seek Planning Permission for certain developments, and whilst this is indeed true, a lot of them also fail to mention that a CLD would need to be obtained in its place as proof that the development was indeed permitted by the Local Authority. 
 
A CLD, like a planning application will usually take around 8-10 weeks to be processed in full, and when working with us, we will always recommend that a Certificate of Lawful Development is obtained via the Local Authority if you are looking to develop or enhance your property. For clarity, the Lawful Development Certificate is the same as Permitted Development 

Application for Non-Material Amendments 

It is sometimes necessary to amend development proposals after planning permission has been granted, and where these are not significant amendments, they may be described as ‘non-material’. 
At present, there is no definition for the changes which are considered non-material and this will be at the discretion of the local planning authority, however the consensus is focused on an amendment which is only a small change without major variance from the original planning application or breach of a planning policy. 
 
Within this field is also what is referred to as a Minor Material Amendment. Like the Non-Material Amendment there are no statutory definitions of this application, however it is advised that a Minor Material Amendment is treated in the same manner as the Non-Material Amendment, via consultation with the Local Authority.  
 
One of the main benefits for the Non-Material Amendment is that it should be determined within 28 days – a much shorter time frame than a standard planning application, meaning that you as the applicant can progress to the next stages of their development in a quicker manner. 

Neighbourhood Consultation Scheme 

As a rule of thumb, most extensions are not to extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 4 metres if the dwelling is detached, or more than 3 metres in any other house. 
However if the house is not a site of Special Scientific Interest or on Article 2(3) Land, the limit can be increased to 6 metres in a house or 8 metres if the house is detached. 
 
Like other applications, before any development begins the local authority must be advised of the proposed extension/alteration so that they can make their checks and determine whether their prior approval is required for the extension, this will be based on consultation with neighbouring properties. 
 
The process entails an application referred to ‘Prior Approval: Larger Home Extension’. The application is handled in a similar manner to a Householder Planning Application and can either be completed electronically or via paper forms. 
 
Once the information required for the application has been received, the local authority will serve notice on any adjoining owners or occupiers. The notice will give the address of the proposed development and describe it accordingly. The notice will also include when the application was received, and when the determination period ends, and describe how objections are to be made. 
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