In the last week of March and the first week of April we won 7 planning appeals in locations all around England. It is a very gratifying result and we would like to congratulate all of our successful clients. The details of out appeal successes are as follows:
- We won an appeal against Rochford District Council relating to a proposed first floor rear extension to a house in Little Wakering, Southend-on-Sea. The council had refused the application saying that it would reduce light reaching a neighbour’s window, thereby harming living conditions. However, the case officer had misapplied the council’s guidance – she had not fully understood the 45 degree rule. We argued that, if correctly applied, the proposal complied with the guidance and there would be no harmful impact. We made a detailed submission and the inspector agreed with us, granting full planning permission.
- Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council refused prior approval for a 6m-deep, single-storey rear extension to a house on Leicester Close, in Sale. The inspector agreed with us that the extension was single-storey only and not likely to have a material impact on neighbours’ living conditions. Generally, we have a very high success rate when it comes to prior approval applications (under permitted development rights) for larger home extensions – councils tend not to like them, but inspectors often take a flexible approach at appeal.
- In Uxbridge, we successfully appealed a refusal of planning permission for a new dwelling to the side of an existing house. London Borough of Hillingdon really dislikes new infill dwellings and we appeal several of these each year (and generally win). We have written about Hillingdon’s approach to this form of development separately here.
- In Ilford, we won an appeal relating to a single-storey rear extension with a depth of only 4m. It was a fairly unreasonable decision by London Borough of Redbridge and we were confident of success.
- In Sunbury, permission had been refused to remove the roof from an existing bungalow and add an entire new first floor. Spelthorne Council objected that the scale of development was too high and that it would look out of place on the street. We argued that the streetscene was diverse in character and appearance, with lots of other two-storey houses, and the extensions were sensitively designed to integrate with the original bungalow. The National Planning Policy Framework (the NPPF), the national planning guidance for England, cautions against using design as a reason for refusal without good reason and the inspector allowed the appeal.
- In Blackburn, our client had applied for relatively large two-storey side and rear extensions. Councils don’t often like proposals that considerably increase the size of a house and that are visible from the street. Double-storey side extensions are one of the most common types of development we take to appeal. The council had described the proposal as “disproportionate and dominant”, subsuming the original character of the house and inappropriate in terms of “siting, scale and massing”. The inspector agreed with us that the extensions were carefully designed to respect the character and proportions of the house. They were subordinate additions and caused no visual harm.
- Finally, we obtained permission for a substantial alterations to the roof of a house in Thanet. The proposal involved altering both hips to gables and increasing the ridge height by 1m, as well as adding a rear dormer. The council argued that the cumulative visual impact of the development would be harmful. The inspector agreed with us that the roofs of the houses in the area were all different and it would not be obvious that the roof had ever been altered. The rear dormer was, contrary to the council’s suggestion, entirely appropriate in size and scale.
These examples demonstrate that refusals are not always fair and planning appeals are necessary and worthwhile. Councils often make good decisions, but they also regularly make the wrong ones. There can be genuine differences of opinion but they also make mistakes, misapplying their own policies or applying them too strictly and not allowing that there are exceptions to every rule.
If you have been refused planning permission, contact us for a free appraisal.