In 2013, the government changed permitted development rights to allow homeowners to build ground floor rear extensions to a depth of 6m (on a terraced or semi-detached house).
Unlike most other types of permitted development, the homeowner is required to apply for ‘prior approval’, a kind of light touch planning application. The council then notifies the neighbours and the application is automatically approved as long as they don’t object. If they do object, the council makes an assessment and decides whether prior approval should be granted.
The difficulty is that councils are quick to refuse applications when a neighbour objects and they get the power to make an assessment. The best option in these cases is to submit an appeal. That takes the decision away from the council and gives it to an independent government inspector.
In this case, our clients wanted a 6m extension to a standard terraced house. The council argued that this was too long and there would be harm to the neighbours on either side.
We were delighted when the inspector agreed with us that the extension was only single-storey and wouldn’t be much taller than the fences along the boundaries. The inspector also noted that the gardens were south-facing so there would be no issues in terms of a loss of light.
If you have been refused planning permission for rear extensions, contact our team for some advice!