Planning Permission: FAQs and managing expectations

It is essential to understand the process of obtaining planning permission for significant changes to your property. Whether you’re looking to replace windows and doors on a listed building or planning an extension or property alteration, thorough navigation of the planning application process is crucial.

Planning permission involves submitting a detailed proposal to your local council, including architectural drawings and a comprehensive description of the materials to be used. Failure to obtain permission can lead to project delays or, in more severe cases, legal action requiring you to reverse the changes made.

Permitted development explained

Permitted development rights grant planning permission for certain building works and changes of use without the need for a formal application. These rights vary between residential and commercial properties. Residential properties often have more allowances, such as smaller extensions, conversions, and specific alterations to windows and doors. Commercial properties, however, face more limitations.

Designated areas like Conservation Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or World Heritage Sites have stricter controls over permitted development. These measures are in place to preserve the architectural and historical significance of these areas. If your property falls within a designated area, it’s advisable to consult with your local planning authority before proceeding with any work.

Planning considerations for Listed Buildings

Listed Buildings require special consideration when it comes to planning. These buildings are protected due to their historical or architectural importance, and any changes must respect and preserve their character. Even minor alterations or the replacement of timber windows or doors in a Listed Building require Listed Building Consent from the local planning authority. Failing to obtain this consent can result in criminal prosecution.

The importance of proper planning permission

Undertaking building work without suitable planning permission can have serious consequences. You may be required to undo the changes at your own expense or face legal action. Additionally, it can create complications when selling your property, as potential buyers and their solicitors will want to ensure all work has the necessary permissions in place.

Understanding Article 4 Directions

Article 4 Directions are legal measures used by local planning authorities to limit or remove permitted development rights in specific areas. They withdraw the automatic planning permission that would typically apply, requiring a formal planning application instead. Article 4 Directions are commonly implemented in Conservation Areas and other areas of historical or environmental importance. They aim to preserve the character and special qualities of these areas by allowing stricter control over development.

Property owners must consult the local planning authority and submit a formal application, ensuring compliance with specific guidelines. These measures ensure that any changes made are carefully considered and aligned with the preservation of the area’s unique features.

The complexities of planning advice

Planning regulations may appear vague due to their complexity and the need for interpretation based on individual circumstances. Local councils strive to provide advice that covers a wide range of scenarios. However, each case is unique, and decisions are influenced by factors such as the property’s location, history, and the potential impact of proposed changes.

Council advice can sometimes be unclear, using terms like “like for like” when referring to replacing property features. This raises questions about whether it pertains to size, shape, materials, or all of the above. To avoid uncertainty and mitigate risks, it’s always advisable to submit a planning application, and professional assistance can be sought to navigate the process effectively.

Options for streamlining the planning process

If time is a constraint, hiring an architect or planning consultant experienced in managing the planning process can be beneficial. Alternatively, you may explore works that fall under permitted development, bypassing the need for a formal planning application. However, rushing a project without the necessary permissions can lead to significant complications down the line.

Remember, planning permission exists to protect the interests of everyone involved—homeowners, neighbours, and the wider community. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure the appropriate permissions are in place before commencing any work on your project.

At Home Counties Joinery, we understand the intricacies of the planning process. Our experienced team can provide guidance and support throughout your planning application. We have a strong track record of successful applications for projects within conservation areas, including Listed Buildings.

Cost of planning application in conservation areas

Our comprehensive planning application service for properties in conservation areas is priced at £795 plus VAT. This covers the entire process, including the council planning application fee of £250 and any necessary additional items, such as digital maps.

Our service includes:

Site visit:

Our planning team will conduct a thorough site inspection, taking photographs and measurements to produce accurate drawings for your application.

Technical drawings:

We will create detailed scale section and elevation drawings of your property, focusing on the proposed changes.

Condition report:

Our team will assess the condition of the existing elements that necessitate the proposed alterations, supported by relevant images.

In addition, we will provide location and block plans, and liaise with the council to address any queries they may have regarding your application. We prioritise accuracy and efficiency to ensure a smooth and successful planning process.

Processing time for approval in conservation areas

While our part of the planning application typically takes around two to three weeks, the overall processing time for approval depends on various factors, including the workload of the local council and their validation process. The council must validate your application, ensuring that all necessary details are included, before proceeding to the approval stage. During peak periods, there may be delays in the validation process to maintain efficient operations.

It’s important to note that the planning department may request additional information on the day the decision is due, even if there has been no previous communication for several weeks. They may ask for supplementary evidence or photographs. Failure to provide the requested information within the given timeframe could result in an extension of the decision date or even refusal of the application.

Planning process for Listed Buildings

Preparing and submitting a Listed Building planning application typically takes around three weeks. However, obtaining Listed Building Consent can be a lengthier process. Listed properties come with strict preservation guidelines, often requiring multiple applications to achieve approval. The duration of the approval process can vary among different councils, and the availability of the Duty Planning Officer may also impact the timeline. It’s crucial to understand that the complexity of the work does not influence the process. Whether you’re making significant changes or minor alterations, your application will be carefully reviewed by the Planning Officer.

The Listed Building Consent process

Listed Building Consent applications require detailed information and close collaboration with the council. Our approach involves submitting an initial application for the desired project and making necessary modifications until approval is obtained. We strive to set realistic expectations and consult with you throughout the process to ensure the best possible outcome.

Cost of submitting a planning application for a Listed Building

Due to the intricate nature of Listed Building applications and the additional communication required with the council, our fee for a Listed Building planning application is £1,440 plus VAT. This includes the council planning application fee of £250, as well as any necessary additional items such as digital maps.

Our comprehensive service includes:

  • Site visit for detailed inspection and measurements
  • Technical drawings of proposed changes
  • Condition report highlighting the reasons for alterations
  • Drawing elevations of the entire property
  • Heritage Statement detailing the historical and architectural significance
  • Location and block plans
  • Consultation with the council to address queries and concerns

We understand the intricacies of Listed Building applications and will work closely with you to ensure a successful outcome.

Contact us

Contact our team at Home Counties Joinery by calling 01279 967444 or emailing to discuss your project and how we can assist you with your planning application. Trust us to handle the complexities so you can focus on the other elements of your home improvement project.