Planning Permission FAQ – A Few Basics For First-Timers

Unless you have a history of property investment or development, chances are you’ll find the very first time you apply for planning permission somewhat on the daunting side. Like so many things in life it’s a very bureaucratic and largely joyless endeavour which depending on the outcome can and will play a huge role in your future plans.

So, with this in mind, what follows is a brief introduction to some of the most important questions of all regarding planning permission, with first-time applications in mind:

1 – Do I Need Planning Permission?

In terms of whether or not you actually need planning permission to create an extension for your home, the rules and laws set out by the government are quite specific and detailed to say the least. According to the Gov’s official website outlining the rules, you do not need planning permission for an extension under the following circumstances:

  • No more than half the area of land around the original house would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • No extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway.
  • No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof.
  • Single-storey rear extension must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than three metres if an attached house or by four metres if a detached house.
  • Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension of four metres.

This list barely scratches the surface of the full list of rules outlined by the government – all of which can be found on the Planning Portal.go.uk website.

2 – How Long Will It Be Before I Receive an Answer?

This all comes down to how complicated the proposed build is and how many applications the relevant local government has to go through at the time of your own application. It can take anything from one month up to eight weeks to receive an answer, though if no response has been issued after eight weeks you are then entitled to file an appeal.

3 – How Much do Applications Cost?

This again varies in accordance with the type of application you make. If for example you’re applying to build a new home or to have an extension added, the prices for the respective Detailed Application are £335 and £150 respectively. Outline Applications by contrast are charged at £335 per 0.1 hectares, while an Application of Approval for Reserved Matters is charged at £335. If you’re unsure as to which application suits your own needs, be sure to speak to an expert before going ahead.

4 – What if My Application is Turned Down?

If you receive a refusal, it’s then up to you as to how you would like to proceed. All refused applicants are invited to apply again within one year of the date of the refusal being issued, which involves modifying the proposal in a manner which will (hopefully) better suit the stipulations and criteria of the local council. In all such cases, there is usually no additional charge for applying in the wake of a refusal.

If on the other hand you feel that the refusal was in some way unfair or did not take into account the specifics of your application appropriately, there’s the option of filing an appeal for consideration by a Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. It is however worth nothing that appeals are generally quite long-winded, can prove costly and are rarely successful without expert representation.

5 – What If I Just Don’t Bother Applying?

This is the course of action chosen by many every year across the UK, though in most instances it is only a matter of time before they face the consequences of their actions. When found to have contravened any planning guidelines without having applied for the relevant permission, you will not only have to pay to have the structure pulled to the ground and disposed of, but could also find yourself with a large fine to pay.

6 – How Can I Receive Help With my Application?

There are plenty of businesses up and running across the UK right now which specialise primarily in property planning applications and the general improvement of properties. While all applications are judged using the same criteria, there are nonetheless various ways and means by which an application’s chances can be given a much-needed boost. Likewise, there are so many small and seemingly minor errors made by first-time applicants every day which immediately and comprehensively destroy their chances of a successful outcome.

If the project matters to you, it’s therefore worth seeking the right help from the earliest possible stage.

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