Planning Permission UK - Articles and Opinions

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

WHAT LEVEL OF DETAIL DO I NEED TO INCLUDE FOR A PLANNING APPLICATION?

First of all, welcome to all new subscribers who have joined over the last month or two. We do hope that you will find our monthly news letters of value and of use in your development plans - remember our motto is "good luck is usually the result of good engineering of a situation based on sound knowledge".

Many successful business deals are the result of being a bit canny with the information that you already know - keeping a tight lip when needed and only letting the other side know just the bare minimum requirement of information and never laying all your cards onto the table. Successful negotiators use this tactic all the time. I expect all of us can remember a time when we have left a meeting wishing that 'I hadn't of said that!'

Well presenting a Planning Application can often involve the precise same tactics at times where you need to retain the advantage in your presentation or application scheme.
Many detailed or complex residential development projects often involve works that can often be implemented without formal Planning Permission - Many garage conversions are a prime example.

So, if your scheme is for a fairly large 2 storey side extension for example that you think is already near the limit for overdevelopment of the site, then why include the garage conversion as well on the Planning scheme if it can be converted under the sites Permitted development allowances. Including building works on a Planning scheme that would not ordinarily require Planning permission is very risky for your other works that do require the benefit of Planning.

Let me explain.......Planners are only human and many are guided by their local plan policy which can be very subjective at times and interpreted in many ways for each site making maximum development of a property a bit of a lottery at times. Therefore, showing all the required works on a Planning drawing can make your project look physically bigger and more extensive that will have a bearing on how the Case Planning Officer determine the suitability of your intended works.

Knowing where the line is for the straw that breaks the camels back for any development scheme is never easy so why not take advantage of excluding the works that can be constructed without Planning in any case. You can always add them to the upgraded Building Regulation and construction drawings later on.

The object is to always give yourself the advantage and for you to 'risk assess' every development project that you present for Planning. Taking unnecessary risks with the Planners assessment of your development scheme by also showing them the full detail of the Permitted Development works is foolish. Generally speaking, if Permitted development works are shown on a Planning application scheme then these works will also be roped into the Planners assessment of your scheme.

How many types of works are exempt form formal Planning approval?.........Lots and lots - far more than you would credit I can assure you which are published in our 'maximum Build' development guide.

I would suggest that 1 in 4 of the residential development schemes that we produce for clients wanting maximum development for their site will involve a good proportion of the works being exempt from formal Planning Permission.

The real trick to exploiting this technique is to be fully sure of your ground regarding what works are excluded from formal Planning Permission and this is where the Professional Building Design Agent has the advantage over the lay person.

The golden rule would be to also confirm in writing after approval of the main scheme that your interpretation of the permitted development works are in fact PD as assessed by the Planning Dept. Any written confirmation of Permitted Development works supplied by the Council can take several weeks to obtain and their letter is only 'informal' - in other words they can give wrong or rubbish advice and use a unique government approved 'get out of jail free card' to rescind their previous advice.

However, this is good enough for my purposes and the clients use when reselling the property later on.

Our 'Maximum Build Planning Guide' explains further the tactics involved when developing land or a site for residential use and how to give yourself the best chance of being granted an approval.

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