Our client in this case obtained planning permission for a two-storey rear extension, but also a certificate of lawfulness (or lawful development certificate) for a hip-to-gable roof extension and a rear dormer window.
He then built out both of these extensions, implementing both approvals. He was not aware that it is not generally possible to build an extension under a planning permission and under your permitted development rights at the same time, especially if those two extensions come into physical contact.
People do it all the time of course, and never run into difficulties. The problem arises if the council becomes aware of it (usually because of a complaint from a neighbour) and the planning enforcement team gets in touch.
The client approached us after being warned of enforcement action by Lambeth Council. Lambeth is famous in London for disliking roof extensions – we wrote about recent successes for roof extension in Lambeth and other councils here.
We arranged for a new set of plans to be drawn up showing the development that had been carried out (‘as built’ drawings) and we submitted a retrospective planning application to Lambeth, accompanied by a detailed and persuasive Planning Statement.
Our key argument was that, though the council’s policies and guidance do not normally allow for this combination for extensions, the area around the site was diverse in character and appearance and a number of other houses on the street, including the neighbour next door, had carried out similar extensions.
We were prepared to have to go to appeal, but were delighted when the council approved our application.
It was a great relief to the homeowners, who otherwise faced having to demolish their extensions.
If you are facing enforcement problems, or any other planning issues, contact our chartered town planners for help and advice.