Ben Grover | Jun 10

Planning The Alternatives

Jonathon Bensley-Byham, Project Director at Architecture ONE, takes you through the finer details of planning consent and the various scenarios that may apply to your project.
Permitted development
 
You may carry out certain types of building work or extensions changes to your home/property without having to apply for planning permission. This work goes under the heading "permitted development rights". 

Permitted rights come from a “general planning permission” which is put in law by Parliament, instead of being under the control of granted permissions by the local authority.

It is important to keep in mind that the permitted development rights that relate to many projects for houses will not relate or apply to flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Equally, Commercial Buildings have differing ‘permitted’ rights of development to that of domestic dwellings.

Permitted rights can sometimes be removed from an address for others reason, these are often but not limited to the location of the address in relationship to other properties, or how the original planning permission was granted for said property. If you live in an area acknowledged to have character that could be under threat from development, your local council may remove permitted rights by issuing Article 4 .

Sometimes it will be a requirement to apply for planning permission for certain types of work even though these works may not need an application in other areas and could have been carried out under permitted rights.


Other examples of restrictions to ‘Permitted rights’ exist in certain locations of the country, also known generally as 'designated areas', permitted development rights are often heavily controlled or removed, this is the case if you live in:

  • a Conservation Area

  • a National Park

  • an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 

  • a World Heritage Site or

  • the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads

Sometimes it will be a requirement to apply for planning permission for certain types of work even though these works may not need an application in other areas and could have been carried out under permitted rights. 

It is best to check the rights which relate to your property by contacting your local authority.
Permitted rights cover elements like extensions of single and two storey height, loft conversions and garage conversions, and dependant of the setting of your house, be it terraced semi-detached or detached will depend on which rules and conditions apply.
 

Lawful Development Certificates

 
You may want to satisfy yourself that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission, you can do this by applying for a 'Lawful Development Certificate' (LDC) by contacting your local Authority. This could be used to confirm Permitted Rights or where a change of use is sort, based on an historic use but where no formal documentation is available.

An LDC is not compulsory to have, but there are times when you may need one to confirm that the operation, activity or use of your property is lawful for planning control purposes.
The documentation for the local Authority must provide sufficient information or it may be refused. A fee is payable; currently £103.

An LDC is not compulsory to have, but there are times when you may need one to confirm that the operation, activity or use of your property is lawful for planning control purposes


It can be that the issues involved in LDCs are of a complex nature and if you decide you need to make an application for a certificate you might benefit from employing an Architect/Planning Consultant. 

Your local Planning Authority’s planning officers can also assist. They will tell you about the necessary information needed to support your application.
 
Retrospective Planning Permission (Retention of)
 
If you have extended or changed your property and the changes or work become known to the council, or you are looking to sell your home and the alterations come up on Solicitors searches (this is a more likely scenario), you will need to put in a retrospective planning application.
You can apply to your local authority for retrospective planning application (retention of) for the extensions/alterations/work that has been already carried out. The local authority will formally request the property owner or occupier of the land in question to submit scaled drawings detailing the work, together with completed forms and a fee currently £206.

There isn’t a guarantee that planning permission will automatically be granted, the application will be treated in the usual way by council and will follow the same process as if you hadn’t yet built. Should the retrospective application (retention of) be refused, you have the right to appeal this decision.

The local authority will formally request the property owner or occupier of the land in question to submit scaled drawings detailing the work, together with completed forms and a fee currently £206.


Should you appeal fail your local planning authority can issue an enforcement notice, this is rare but if issued it will require you to removed the extension/alteration and return the build back to its original state.

Failure to obtain or comply with planning permission

 
A failure to comply with or obtain planning permission is referred to as a 'planning breach'.
A planning breach occurs when: 

Developments that require planning permission are built without the relevant permission being obtained/granted – this can be because either the planning application was never applied for or was refused.

It is illegal to disobey an enforcement notice the only situation where it can be ignored is if it is successfully appealed against


Developments that were granted with specific conditions attached to the approval, and the applicant/owner has broken one or more of those conditions.

A breach of planning in itself is not illegal, a council will typically permit a retrospective application to be submitted as described in the above paragraphs. 
It is important to note that, if the breach involves a previously refused application/ development, or the retrospective retention of application fails, the council may issue an enforcement notice as described in the previous paragraph.

A planning authority can serve an enforcement notice on you if they consider you have broken planning conditions relevant to your application or planning control rules. Typically this will be because the planning authority consider the development you are carrying out, or have carried out and completed is damaging to your neighbourhood.

The decisive issue for a planning authority is to determine if the breach would have a detrimental effect on public amenity and/or the existing use of buildings and land requiring protection in the public interest.

You can appeal the refusals of permission and enforcement notices by providing arguments for your development and fresh reasoning


It is illegal to disobey an enforcement notice the only situation where it can be ignored is if it is successfully appealed against. 

You can appeal the refusals of permission and enforcement notices by providing arguments for your development and fresh reasoning, however if the end decision is found in favour of the council  and you still refuse to comply you may be prosecuted.

Should you find yourself in this situation, it is best to seek the help of either an architect in the first instance, or a planning consultant that specialises in such issues.

Architecture ONE are a Suffolk based practice offering architecture, planning, structural engineering and building control services.




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