How to apply for planning permission and when you need it
Building a new house or an extension or making improvements in and out of your house generally calls for a planning permit. There has been confusion as to the difference between a Planning Permission and Building Regulation. These are both under the responsibility of the Local Authority. A Planning Permission basically deals with the permission to erect or construct a building. Building Regulation is all about defining how a new structure should be constructed.
The construction of new buildings, major extensions and alterations and change in land use will generally require a Planning Permission.
Any person can apply for a planning permission. A notice of the application will be published in the local newspaper and be prominently displayed at the property. Anyone who has an opinion about the plan can make their comments at the office on the Local Authority. The Local Authority has guidelines for the type of building that could be built in the area. It would also define the style of the building in accordance with the local code.
Not all new constructions need a Planning Permission under the permitted developmental rights. This simply means that internal and minor alterations do not necessarily need Planning Permission. There are, however, separate clauses for extensions and alterations in areas that are under Conservation Areas and those that are included in the Listed Buildings list.
In general here are clauses where Planning Permission is needed.
- You need a planning permission if you are building an extension or alteration that is
o in a conservation area or a listed building
o nearer to any kind of public access (road, footpath etc.) than to nearest part of the original house unless the extension is at least 20 meters from the road
o Large enough to cover more than half of the original plot
o Taller than the original roof of the house
o 4 meters in height from 2 meters of the boundary
o 15% or 70 cubic meter larger than the original house
o Within 5 meters range of another building that is part of your house
o Obstructing your neighbour's window that has been there for more than 20 years
- Building a loft conversion
o that would include a dormer window or an extension of the roof that would extend beyond the plane of the existing roof slope that is facing a road
o that will have some part of the house higher than the highest point of the existing roof
o that will add an additional 40 cubic metres to the volume of a terraced house or more than 50 cubic metres to a semi-detached or detached house
o That increases the volume of the original terraced house greater than 10% or 50 cubic metres (whichever is greater), or greater than 15% or 70 cubic metres (whichever is greater) for a semi-detached or detached house.
In general, the local Building Regulation defines how the new building or extension or alteration is to be built for a structurally safe building. This includes fire codes, energy efficiency of the structure, ventilation, heating and other aspects of the building that has anything to do with the safety of the occupants. The office sees to it that standard and minimum area requirements are met. An application for a Building Regulations approval does not need to be advertised by the local authority.
A Building Regulations approval may be required even if a Planning Permission is not needed. The approval is given by the building control officers of the locality and is separate from the planning officials. Once the approval is given and construction starts, the local building inspector will visit the site at specific staged to see if the building is being constructed according to the plans submitted. The building inspector has the liberty to make changes in the structural specifications of a building especially in the foundations and footings.
Generally you would need a Building Regulation approval for the following.
- An extension of your property
- Internal alteration that would affect the structural stability of the house
- A detached garage
- A loft conversion
- cavity wall insulation
- conversion of a house into flats (even if change in occupancy only)
- installation, replacement or alteration of a shop front
- conversion of a shop or an office into a house or flat
Applying for a Planning Permission
You or anyone you assign can apply to the local council for planning permission. Granting of planning applications is decided in accordance with the development plan of the locality unless there are valid reasons not to do so. Points that will be considered for the approval are:
- external appearance of buildings regarding its size, layout and number
- Landscaping and impact on the neighbourhood and proposed means of access.
- availability of roads and water supply, electricity
- proposed use of the development
Here are the steps in applying.
1. Go to your local planning authority and see the planning department for advice
2. Request for an application form and decide on application type
a. Outline application
b. Full application
3. Submit application with the correct fee and necessary supporting documents
a. Fees vary from a minimum of £70 to thousands of pounds.
4. Local planning authority validates application and requests for missing documents if any
5. Local planning authority acknowledges valid application
6. Local planning authority publicises and consults on application
7. Application deliberated by the Planning Officer or Planning Committee
a. The application can be denied
b. The application is to be decided in 8 weeks
c. The application is granted
d. The application is granted but with some stipulations
The resulting decision of the local planning authority would prod you on what to do next. If your application is granted then you may proceed with the construction as long as you have complied with the Building Regulations. If denied you can then make an appeal.
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