This case was a classic example of how councils and case officers reach the wrong decision on a simple planning application for householder extensions.
The client had an unusually shaped site on a cul-de-sac, facing onto a turning circle. When he wanted to extend, his architect did the sensible thing and designed the extensions to match the extensions that had been built by neighbouring houses.
The neighbours’ extensions weren’t perfect or beautiful, perhaps, but the priority from a town planning point of view is that what you build matches in with the surrounding area.
The Croydon planners weren’t happy. Why not? Because the two-storey side extension that our client proposed did not meet the letter of their planning policies and guidance when it comes to this kind of extension.
It is well established that supplementary planning guidance is just guidance. It does not have to be followed to the letter if there is a good reason why it should not be. Planning policies may be overlooked if ‘other material considerations’ apply.
Planning is not a tick box exercise. Case officers should not sit in their offices deciding whether a development is appropriate based solely on whether it meets planning policies and guidance. They must get out on site, visit the property, take a look at the neighbours and work out what kind of extension works in the real world.
Never mind, if the planners make a mistake, you have a right of appeal. And guess what? Appeal allowed.
If Croydon, or any other council, is determined to refuse planning permission for your extension, contact our planners for free advice on whether you might win an appeal.