Do I need planning permission?

Is one of the most searched building-related queries on Google!

With over 20,000 planning related hits on Google per month, it's clear that planning applications are a process which baffles most people. Having worked as an RIBA Architect delivering home remodelling planning applications for over 10 years and having personally delivered over 300 applications, this comes as no surprise.

What is permitted development?

For homeowners in the UK, permitted development is a type of application (for small projects) which doesn't require you to take the formal planning application route of a "Householder Planning Application" or a "Full Planning Application". The timescales for all three options are the same, however, the Permitted Development route is generally seen as less risky. Approval is determined by a set of nationally prescribed criteria, such as heigh and depth of an extension. If your proposal ticks the boxes, it should receive approval. The same goes for loft conversions, if it's the right height, depth and additional volume, it should receive approval.

Beyond permitted development

As a rule of thumb most councils throughout the UK allow ground floor rear extensions from 3-4m for terrace properties and 3-5m for semi-detached properties. To work out what is permissible at your council we always research local supplementary planning documents and review nearby properties that have received planning approval.

With this in mind, anything that is over 3m in distance from the original rear wall of the property has to be submitted as a householder planning application. Anything that is under 3m, can be submitted under Permitted Development.

How long does Planning take?

For home remodelling projects where you're doing work to just one dwelling, there are 3 stages to any planning application - Submission, validation & determination. Submission takes place once the design has been signed off and all the relevant documents have been prepared for the application. At My-architect we prepare all of this for you and notify you when the councils fees are ready to be paid. The documentation will include: drawings, forms, location plans and block plans at the very least.

As soon as the councils fees have been paid, you move straight into the validation period. This is when a validation officer at the council reviews your project to make sure all the necessary documents have been provided to determine the application. The validation process can take up to 21 days, and the council have the right to request further information before validating the application. Once validated we are sent an email, and you will be notified.

Following validation, your project will go into the determination period. When this happens you will be given a determination date, which is when you can expect a response from the council. During the determination period, we may be contacted by the council to make changes to the application. We then negotiate this on your part to make sure both you and the council get a desired outcome.

If you have any further questions or want to just talk through a project, please call us on +44 020 3538 1249 and we'd be happy to take your call.


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