What do you do if you get planning permission for a rear extension, build it in good faith and only then find out that the builder made some small adjustments to the plans as he went and the council now alleges that you are in breach of planning?
It is not a pleasant situation to find yourself in. In truth, few extensions are built exactly as shown on the approved plans and the council doesn’t care about small adjustments in any case. Mostly, they never even find out about them.
The trouble generally arises when a neighbour complains, an enforcement investigation is launched and you face the very real possibility of having to adjust, or even knock down, your new extension.
In this particular case, our clients had built their extension and enforcement officers came knocking. We met the owners on site, advised that we thought the extension had been altered to the point that it needed planning permission and that we thought permission would be granted.
Although we have been critical of the pre-application advice system in other articles (especially ‘Are Pre-Apps Pointless?’), we recommended a pre-app in this case because the local council (Haringey) has a good (expensive) fast track pre-application advice service that gets a case officer out on site within a week or too. The advantage of meeting a case officer on site is that you get a chance to lobby them in the hope of persuading them to reach the right decision!
We met the officer, talking through the proposal, received advice that it was likely to be approved and then helped with the preparation, submission and management of the retrospective planning application itself. We were delighted when permission was granted.
Facing a similar situation? Get in touch!