FAQ: Planning & Other Consents

Can you guarantee planning approval?

Unfortunately not. Although most councils publish guidance on what is permitted, it is open to interpretation and subjective judgments. Local and recent precedents may be a guide, but each submission is judged on its own merits and often requires some negotiation. We use our experience of working with the councils to give you the best chance of success at planning.

What is permitted development?

This is work that can be carried out without requiring planning consent. You can obtain a certificate of lawful development to demonstrate that your work falls under this permitted development. It is a good idea to obtain this for the future sale of the property, as the solicitors will often ask for this.

How long does planning take?

From point of registration the statutory period is typically 8 weeks, but this can be extended if for example it goes to committee.

Can I submit more than one option as part of a single planning application?

No, you must submit one scheme per application. You can however submit multiple planning applications, which run simultaneously.

What is a planning committee meeting?

This is a meeting of the councils elected councillors to determine a planning application. These are lay people, politically minded but working in their own time and unpaid. They will make subjective personal design decisions, often very traditional and conservative in taste and they will not always go with the planners’ recommendations.

What is a planning appeal?

This is an appeal to the Planning inspectorate to appeal the decision of a planning application. There is no charge, but there is a time limit from the decision date, and can take 6 months to determine.

What is a pre-planning application?

This is an application made to the planning department to give advice before a full application is made. They can take as long or longer than a full planning application. The result is not biding on the council, so often unless the full planning fee is high, full planning is a better option and even if refused gives you a binding option from all parties.

If a neighbour objects, will the planners refuse the application?

Not necessarily. Their objection will be judged in planning terms and if relevant the impact will be considered and can influence a planner. If there are several objections the matter will be referred to the committee who will often be influenced by objectors for political reasons.

I live in a conservation area, are the planning restrictions more onerous?

The planners will be more wary of alterations and will want to retain the architectural character of the building and street. In principal any proposals should seek to enhance the area. The key point is that the work should not just be detrimental to the area, but also positively enhance it.

My neighbour has a roof terrace or extension, will this be relevant as a precedent when we put in an application?

Possibly, but every application is judged on its own merits and the application may have been made previous to change in planning policy.

Can we use planning drawings to build from?

We would recommend you also commission full construction drawings, integrating structural information and services. They will also detail construction details at all parts of the works and provide better certainty of the expected end product. Planning drawings do not contain sufficient information to price and build from accurately.

Can you obtain freeholders consent?

As building owner you should liaise with your freeholder and we can provide drawings and assistance as required. With your authority and outside the standard appointment, we can act as your agent in these matters.

What is listed building consent?

Buildings of historic or architectural merit are awarded a listing, which gives it an extra layer of protection. Consent to alter these buildings requires listed building consent as well as planning, which is usually more onerous and restrictive.

What is a party wall Award?

If you carry out works to a party wall, or close to it, you may legally have to serve notice on the adjoining owner. This will set out in advance of the works; the detail of the proposals, and a schedule of condition of any affected areas. This work will be carried out by a surveyor to form the “Award”.

Different works require different notices. You should allow a minimum of two months to organise a party wall Award.