Just Planning has won a number of planning appeals in the London Borough of Redbridge in recent months. Redbridge has been taking a fairly strict approach to double-storey side extensions in particular (recently refusing permission for one because they didn’t like the slope of the roof) and is also fairly rigid when it comes to single-storey rear extensions.
These two forms of householder extension make up the lion’s share of our work in Redbridge. The council’s planning policies are not particularly out of date – the Local Plan was adopted in 2015 – but it does not have up to date supplementary guidance to help homeowners design extensions. Without clear, specific guidance to fall back on, it is harder for the council to defend itself at appeal.
For side extensions, its objection usually relate to an alleged loss of visual gaps between property (the so-called terracing effect, which we have written about here). For rear extensions, they are reluctant to approve ground floor extensions deeper than around 3m. This was the old rule-of-thumb depth for single-storey rear extensions, but the householder planning system is much more flexible these days and extensions of up to 6m (on a terraced or semi-detached house) have become the norm.
Generally speaking, like lots of councils, they can be very prescriptive when it comes to design. Often they will refuse rear extensions on design grounds, even though they are conventionally designed, at the rear (and therefore not visible from the public realm) and only single-storey in height. Appeal inspectors rarely support this argument at appeal – the most important issue tends to be whether there is an impact on neighbours. Whether or not there is, of course, is highly site specific.
If you have been refused planning permission for any kind of householder extension (or any other form of development), contact our friendly planning consultants for some free advice. Email us over your address and the council’s planning reference number and we can take a look at your planning drawings and the decision on the Redbridge website, and get an understanding of your property from satellite images. If a planning appeal is worthwhile, we will let you know. If not, we can advise on a revised proposal and a resubmission.