If you are keen to make a change to your property – whether it’s an extension or building a whole new construction onsite – you may be eager to submit your application for planning permission. However, before you rush to fill out the necessary forms, it’s a good idea to slow down and take some important factors into consideration.
Here are some of the most vital considerations you should take into account before you make your application.
1. Do You Actually Need To?
Depending on the alteration you are hoping to make to your property, you may not actually need planning permission. Most houses have permitted development rights, which means that a number of minor changes can be made with no permission necessary. However, this will depend on the policy of your local council, as well as whether or not you live in a listed building. You will also face restrictions if you live in a national park or other conservation area. It’s a good idea to seek the advice of your local planning officers before you begin your application, to make sure you have all the necessary information available to work out whether your project requires any special permissions.
2. Your Neighbours Will Be Notified About Your Plans.
Once you have applied for planning permission, by law, your neighbours must be informed by your local council. If they have any issues with your proposed changes, they can then voice their concerns. These worries will be taken into account by the planning committee, particularly if the complaints are in regard to potential overshadowing, loss of privacy, or parking issues.
3. You Can Ask Someone Else To Apply For You.
If you have concerns about filling out your planning application, you don’t have to do it yourself. You can ask your architect or designer to take on the responsibility for you. In fact, they may already include this task as part of the service they provide.
Alternatively, they may ask for some additional costs to be paid if they do not ordinarily complete the application. However, you may consider an extra fee to be worthwhile, in order to avoid the stress of filling out the forms.
4. You May Need To Carry Out An Ecology Survey.
Depending on the location of your proposed construction or renovation work, you may need to have a preliminary ecological assessment carried out. This is to make sure that your proposed plans will not be in danger of harming any vulnerable habitats or protected species.
For example, if you are hoping to tear down an old barn and build a new construction on top, there could be a chance that bats use the barn as a roosting spot. In this case, you would need to carry out surveys to detect the presence of bats before you can make any further plans.
5. Are You On A Floodplain?
If your proposed development will be carried out on an area of land that is classed as a floodplain, this does not necessarily mean that you will not be granted planning permission. In fact, thousands of homes have been built on floodplains over the years, as developers struggle to find new land for their projects.
However, you must bear that in mind that if your proposed site is a floodplain, you will probably be required to conduct flood risk assessments beforehand. If these assessments reveal that protective measures should be taken during the development of your building project, it is vital that you do so, particularly if you will be building houses. If the appropriate mitigation procedures are not carried out, the people who purchase your new builds may not be able to get insurance for their homes.
6. Is The Land Contaminated?
If you have earmarked a parcel of contaminated land for a proposed development, you may be wondering how this designation will affect your bid for planning permission.
The truth is that, while it does not guarantee that your planning application will be turned down, wanting to build on contaminated land can cause you a number of headaches as a developer. Firstly, you will have to assess the precise nature of the contamination, which will entail contacting your local authority as well as hiring the services of a company that can test for the presence of contaminants and offer you practical advice on how to address them. Once these results have come back, you will then have to demonstrate that you can take remedial measures to keep the contamination to levels that are deemed to be safe. If you cannot do this, then you will be refused planning permission.
Not sure what constitutes contaminated land? Essentially, this is any parcel of land containing harmful substances that can affect human life and the environment at large. Possible contaminants include asbestos, radioactive waste, heavy metals, oil and tar. Sites that are most likely to host these contaminants range from refineries and steelworks to abandoned factories, railways, and mines.
7. You May Have To Be Patient.
While the majority of planning applications are either approved or rejected within 8 weeks, in more complex cases it can take longer. For example, applications for Listed Building Consent can often take around 3 months.
However, there are a few other factors that can contribute to longer waiting times.
– the submission of poor-quality drawings and maps
– delays caused by waiting for consultations with separate agencies or departments
– the issue of a large number of objections to your plans that have been received from neighbours.
Resolving these issues can add a few more weeks to your waiting time.
8. If Approved, You Have Three Years To Finish Construction.
You may not realise this when you first apply, but from a legal point of view, if permission is granted, this permission will only last for the ensuing three years. If you have failed to begin your construction work within this time frame then it’s possible that you will have to start the whole application process again. There are rare exceptions to this rule, and if your permission is viewed as one of these exceptions, this will be expressly stated in your approval letter.
When it comes to what constitutes ‘starting work’, this can range from the digging of trenches for foundations, to the laying of underground mains, and any work relating to the demolition of a building.
As you can see, there are various factors that can affect your application for planning permission, and several important things you need to consider before you even start filling out the forms. However, the good news is that over 80% of planning applications in England are granted, and in certain areas this percentage climbs even higher.
As a result, it is likely that your application will be approved and you can begin your exciting new phase of development.