Just Planning – The Times
The ‘Bricks & Mortar’ section of the Times newspaper on Friday 26 February features Just Planning’s top tips on getting planning permission for householder extensions and alterations.
We provided the following advice to homeowners considering an extension:
- Hire a good architect who knows the policies and culture of the local planning department and is familiar with planning for home extensions. Just Planning can assist you with planning advice, preparing plans and submitting and managing your applications.
- Think about what you really want and need. Once an application is approved, you must complete the development exactly as shown n the plans. Even enlarging a window or moving a door can prove surprisingly tricky. Similarly, don’t necessarily apply for the largest extension you think you can get away with. Building costs increase with every square metre of extra space and smaller spaces, cleverly designed, are often the best option. Bigger isn’t always better (or affordable).
- Talk to your neighbours. Take them round a copy of your plans and explain what you want to do, so that they aren’t startled by the council’s ‘neighbour notification’ letter and send in an objection. Councils are paying closer attention to the views of adjoining occupiers, in line with the government’s ‘localism’ agenda.
- Think ‘permitted development’. Some types of home extensions don’t require planning permission, subject to certain restrictions. Large loft conversions and deep ground floor extensions may be obtained relatively hassle free. It is usually worth seeking a certificate (‘of lawfulness’) before starting works. The government has a helpful animated overview of permitted development rights on its planning website (www.planningportal.gov.uk).
- Don’t be afraid to appeal a planning refusal. Council planning officers are a conservative bunch, hopelessly overworked and often working from dated policies. Just Planning wins more than 70% of appeals it undertakes in relation to home extensions and offers a free consultation on whether an appeal may succeed.