OK, down to business without my usual editorial
link. There is a perception amongst most folk that every house is allowed
a certain percentage of extension development without the need for formal
Planning Permission. People seem to think that it applies to them even
when they purchase an already extended property.
The Permitted development allowances as
contained within the GPDO 1995, Statutory instrument 1995 No. 418 is
a minefield of criteria and restrictions with affecting paragraphs and
clarifications all over the document which has lead to a vast array of
interpretations from homeowners, agents and Planning Authorities, some of
which has been challenged in the courts. It is so cumbersome that there is
even a government discussion document out at the moment seeking to address
these issues that should result in an update or complete new legislation
document in the coming months so watch this space.
This News Letter is far too short to go into every
issue of what you can and cannot build within the curtilage of a dwelling
house without formal Planning Permission (unless you have purchased my
MAXIMUM BUILD PLANNING GUIDE OF COURSE???) but it may be advantageous
to subscribers of this news letter to highlight some of the more common 'trip
up' clauses that will prevent you from erecting your extension, outbuilding
or alterations to your property as follows:-
1. Site zoning - if your property is within
a conservation area or Area of outstanding natural Beauty or a National park
then your PD limits may be fully withdrawn or limited from normal.
2. New dwellings - If your property was
part of an estate, small infill development, one off build etc. within the
last 15 years then there is a good chance that the Planners cleverly by stealth
removed the PD rights to the property as part of the original Planning Approval
as a Planning Condition. This is to maintain control over your property
in most aspects for the future. Even older housing estates may have their
PD rights lifted so do check first. This is the most common of all reasons
why most ordinary householder hopes are dashed at the outset or illegal
buildings are erected in the first place.
3. Previously extended properties - If
you are purchasing a property that has already been extended then it is likely
that no further PD rights exist applicable to extending a dwelling. 70 cubic
metres is not a great deal of extension volume.
4. Ancillary outbuildings - These have minimum
distance requirements from the house and to a highway. They also have
strict ridge and Flat roof heights and are again affected by the sites zoning
as in item 1 above. The use must also be ancillary and contain no bed space.
So no granny annexes, office suites or huge buildings that cannot be classified
as an 'ancillary use'.
5. Extension heights - If it is over 4M
high within 2M of a boundary then sorry but no go here as well.
6. Fence heights - Normally 1M max. close
to a highway or 2M in most other cases.
7. Roof Dormers - if they exceed the existing
ridge line, front towards a highway (that means paths as well) or are greater
than 40/50 cubic metres (terrace/other) or within a conservation area then
no go for building them without Planning.
8. Porches - that do not cover a doorway
or exceed 3 square metres or exceed 3M high or are within 2 Metres to a highway
do not comply with PD - you will need Planning Permission.
There are more areas of 'trip ups' but the ones
listed above are the main common catches that most people fall into from
time to time.
The solution is to always check the constraining
details with your local Planning Dept. with what you want to do and
get it 'informally' agreed in writing. This aspect is actually harder to
obtain than you think as most Councils now want you to apply for a
Certificate of Lawfulness (C of E) which is a legally binding document
that confirms (or denies) that you do not require formal Planning Approval
for your scheme.
You see the council have an unfair 'get out
of jail free' card where their 'opinion letters' outside of a C of E
are not legally binding? - Isn't that great! Can you imagine what
the world would become if we were are all granted that sort of 'cop out'
licence in our correspondence and professional opinions?
Cynical I may be but this sort of evasion of duty
and responsibility really guiles me. The down side is when applying for a
C of E is that you need proper drawings showing all aspects of the design,
siting and location plan etc. which is not normally achievable in a DIY format
by the householder, you need to pay a fee (currently £55.00) and surprise,
surprise - it takes about 2 months!!!! to decide. - ere.......excuse me....but
doesn't that sound just like a Planning application - YES - to be informed
that you don't need planning in the first place! - what a great ploy and
clever thinking by the boys at Whitehall. I think the phrase is....'you
couldn't possibly make this up!
If you have trouble deciding what you want to build
is PD or not and the council remain unhelpful outside of a C of E then do
seek a professional opinion from a Building Design Agent used to this sort
of residential development.
Our 'Maximum Build
Planning Guide' explains further the tactics involved when
extending a property under Permitted Development and what areas can be exploited
for developing land or a site for residential use and how to give yourself
the best chance of being granted an approval.