Are you thinking about making a planning application for your home extension project? Do you have a clear idea of what you need to do before you make a planning application so that you can be in a better position to get approval?
We have listed 7 things below that you should think about before making any sort of planning application that may help to make the process run smoother.
1. What is it you need: Have you defined your brief, do you have a clear idea of the space that you need and how it will be used? There is little or no point in adding space if the current space will become redundant or end up being a glorified hallway to the new space.
Understanding how you will use the new space and what you would like to create will ensure that any corresponding planning application reflects those needs and positioning of doors and windows that may impact external appearance are defined at the outset. Similarly, if you are looking to create some sort of feature or use an unusual material on the building this should be explored at the outset and be defined in any planning documents.
2. Compliance with local council and building regulations: An important prerequisite for a planning application in the UK is compliance with the local council planning policy as well as consideration of the building regulations that, although independent of the planning process may impact the external appearance of the building so will need to be considered at the planning stage.
It is crucial to review and comprehend the local council’s planning policies, construction regulations, and any other pertinent rules or legislation before filing a planning application.
This will help to ensure that the proposed development conforms in so far as possible with all essential norms and laws, increasing the likelihood that the local council will accept it. Local authorities use planning policies to direct growth in their region.
They lay forth the council’s plans for the region and the kinds of construction that are permitted. It is crucial to review the pertinent planning policies and make sure the proposed development complies with them before filing a planning application.
3. Potential impact on surrounding properties and the community: A proposed development can have a wide range of impacts on surrounding properties and the community, such as increased noise or decreased natural light and what is known as a loss of amenity on the neighbours, which in simple terms the impact on their amenity space such as the garden. It is imperative to carefully consider these impacts and how they will be mitigated before making a planning application.
You will also want to consider the privacy of both yourself and the neighbours based on what you are thinking to do. It is unlikely to be nice for any party to feel overlooked or for new windows to infringe on an existing view from a neighbouring building – things like this can be mitigated with the use of frosted windows, if not the planners may ask for windows on the side to be obscured glass or worst case refuse the application.
4. Environmental considerations: In the UK, environmental concerns are a key component of a planning proposal. These factors consider both the development’s potential effects on the environment and the measures planned to counteract any negative ones.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Town and Country Planning Act of 1990 are only a couple of the laws and regulations the UK government has established to safeguard the environment and encourage sustainable development.
Local councils must consider the environmental impact of a proposed development when evaluating a planning application in accordance with these policies and laws.
The proposed development should also be planned to be energy-efficient, have a small carbon footprint, not harm the area’s environment or biodiversity, and not cause the displacement of any wildlife.
You may need to consider if you are in a flood risk area or in an area where an ecological statement may be required, or the impact of what you are proposing on any trees in the area. This should be factored into the design and explored such that impact can be supported by the council.
5. Property boundary and ownership: Often the boundary of a plot and associated ownership may not be clear. Title deeds can help to define this. But over time a right of way may have inadvertently been created if you have allowed your neighbour to paint their wall from your garden for a number of years for example. In instances like this, you will need to consider the design relative to the boundary and any rights of way or restricted covenants that may exist.
Restricted covenants are typically listed in the property title deeds and can be as obscure as preventing the removal of any soil from a plot – in instances like this that would prevent you from undertaking an extension unless that covenant can be removed or if that is not possible for an indemnity insurance policy to be put in place.
Defining the property boundary and understanding if the whole proposal including any gutters are going to be within the boundary is also important – remember you do not need to own a plot to make a planning application on it and in this instance, you will need to establish if neighbouring plots are impacted how this will impact the planning submission and in particular in terms of the certificates of ownership. If you are making an application for a shared wall to an extension then your neighbours should be advised accordingly through the planning process.
6. Buildability and materiality: There is little point in getting planning permission for something that you cannot build. When thinking about buildability this may not just be limited to what you are actually building but also the logistics in making that happen – for eg, a site with lots of large trees may mean that you need piled foundations to the site which in turn could become cost prohibitive and thus although it is possible to undertake your extension the buildability makes it unviable.
In tandem at planning stage, you will want to consider what materials you want to use and the aesthetic appearance that you are seeking to achieve and the inherent maintenance of these particularly if you would like something unconventional such as a charred timber cladding or something of that order.
7. Cost and feasibility of the proposed development: For a planning application in the UK, cost and viability are crucial factors. The proposed development must be technically and logistically possible as well as financially viable, which means that the project’s expenses must be acceptable and proportionate to the anticipated benefits.
It is essential to provide evidence that the proposed development is financially feasible when filing a planning application. This can be achieved by offering a thorough project budget that details potential acquisition costs, the materials, the labour, and other costs, in addition to a predicted completion date as well as consideration of what tangible value uplift there may be from the proposal – this should not be considered just in terms of asset value but also in terms of value to you as the occupants and benefits to lifestyle.
This value may not be tangible in monetary terms but could relate to the fact by having additional bathrooms the arguments at shower time may be mitigated which in turn could improve the overall harmony as a family.