Gaining Planning Permission

Whether you are considering a home extension, or a loft or garage conversion the entire project from start to finish, MUST be planned thoroughly with emphasis being placed on how you wish to utilise your usable new space.  Access Builders have years of experience in the building industry, and can offer expert advice with the design and planning to individually tailor your dream space.

Naturally, there are many questions regarding the different legal requirements and Building regulations that need to be addressed before any work can commence.  The following article details some of the most frequently asked questions.

What does Planning Permission and Building Control Regulations mean?

Firstly, homeowners need to establish when Planning Permission is needed and also whether Building Control Regulations are required. But before this is investigated it is important to establish exactly what these terms actually mean.

While Planning Permission is primarily concerned with where a development is built, the impact on its surroundings and whether it is in keeping with its environment; Building Regulations are more concerned with how a development is built, its structural strength and safety.

So, in fact, Planning Permission and Building Regulation Approval are totally separate processes, with each relating to different legal requirements.

How do you find out if you need planning permission?

If you wish to build an extension to your property or do other work to your home, you may need to apply for planning permission. Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without the need for planning permission and this is commonly known as ‘permitted development’.

Such alterations include outbuildings, limited extensions, new windows, roof lights, all internal changes, walls, fences and a host of other things so make use of and enjoy this freedom if you can!

With this in mind and as a general rule though, it is highly likely that you will need planning permission if you want to:

  • build something new
  • make a major change to your building – e.g. building an extension
  • change the use of your building

But, do not panic- if you are still unsure about whether your particular planning proposal requires permission, more information and further general advice is available on online by contacting your local planning authority (LPA).

However, please note: If your project needs planning permission and you do the work without getting Local Authority Planning approval, you can be served an ‘enforcement notice’ ordering you to undo all the changes you have made.

How do you get Planning Permission and how long will it take?

In Lancashire and across the country too, obtaining planning permission is a difficult task by anyone’s standards and usually involves local politics when assessing whether building a house, or even extending and refurbishing an existing one, is in the community’s interest.

A local Planning Authority or LPA will take into consideration a range of factors to determine whether a planning application fits with its development plan.

Such considerations include:

  • the number, size, layout, siting and external appearance of buildings
  • the infrastructure available – e.g. roads and water supply
  • any landscaping needs
  • what you want to use the development for
  • how your development would affect the surrounding area – e.g. if it would create lots more traffic

Although the whole process can be very stressful, the most important thing to remember here is keep calm, remain focused and track your application through the system so you avoid any nasty surprises!

In reality though, the planning application process shouldn’t be a long drawn-out process, in fact, the entire procedure from the submission of your application to a decision being made, should take no longer than eight weeks. This is because the Government have implemented targets to local councils meaning planners are under real pressure to meet such timescales and reach a decision about your planning application proposal as soon as possible.

How do you know which forms to fill in?

To ensure that you provide the information necessary for your planning application to be processed efficiently, different forms and accompanying guidance notes, are provided for various types of application, these include:

  • Householder applications
  • Full planning permission
  • Outline planning permission, including approval of reserved matters
  • Listed building consent
  • Conservation area consent
  • Advertisement consent
  • Tree works (including trees protected by a TPO and trees in a conservation area)
  • Certificate of lawfulness of existing and proposed use or development

And now, for the first time, if you need to apply for two consent types, e.g. planning permission and listed building consent, combined forms are available which include the questions for both application types.

If you use one of these combined forms, even though you only have to complete one form, it will be treated as two applications and you will be advised of two application numbers, one for each type of consent.

To download application forms and guidance notes from the planning portal by clicking here:

Finally, how do you deal with objections?

Although easier said than done, if your neighbours or community object to your planning permission plans, try not to panic, as objections do not necessarily mean refusal. Of course, if you are on good terms with your neighbours, have consulted the local council, church and committee you may well have already had an opportunity to discuss your upcoming plans, allowing neighbours a chance to express their concerns and reservations. Try imagining things from their perspective and if you can accommodate what might seem fairly trivial issues to you, it could make the difference between a delegated approval and a committee refusal.

So why not let Access Builders handle your planning consent and building regulations approval for you, drawing up architectural drawings, which we submit for the appropriate planning and building control authorisation.

Plans and structural calculations start at only £595.00 inc Vat.  If you would like to know more about our design service or require planning advice, please don’t not hesitate to give us a call on 01257 464302 or 07931 587 230.