Does the thought of trying to get planning permission for your home build project fill you with dread? You’re not alone, we hear this a lot! I have good news though if you move through the right steps to understand exactly what you need and employ the right professionals, the process won’t seem so daunting at all.
Here are some key steps to help you navigate the process successfully:
- Determine if you need planning permission for your home build renovation:
The first step is to determine if your renovation project requires planning permission. This will depend on a number of factors, including the size and scope of the project and the location of your property. You can check with your local planning authority to determine if planning permission is required.
Here is a handy guide published by Planning Portal to help you: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/permission/home-improvement
- Consult with an architect:
If you are planning a major home renovation, it is a good idea to consult with an architect early in the process. They can help you assess the feasibility of your plans and advise you on the likelihood of obtaining planning permission. They can also help you to develop a design that is more likely to be approved. Some architects offer free consultations (like us!) and this is a great way to gain a better understanding of the planning journey ahead of you.
- Submit a planning application:
Once you (or your architect) have determined that planning permission is required, you will need to submit a planning application to your local planning authority. This will include a detailed description of the proposed renovation, including plans, elevations, and site sections. You may also need to provide additional information, such as a flood risk assessment or an ecological survey. Your architect can submit all of this information for you, acting as your agent, and can really help to mitigate unnecessary stress.
- Consult with your neighbours:
Depending on the scale and nature of your project, you may need to consult with your neighbours before submitting your planning application. This can help to identify any potential issues or concerns and can demonstrate that you are being considerate of their interests. Remember, your neighbour’s comments are considered at the Planning stage by the local authority, however, unless they are Planning Policy related, they will not impact your application – so don’t panic about what your neighbours might say.
- Respond to feedback:
Once you have submitted your planning application, it will be reviewed by the local planning authority. A householder application takes 8 weeks as a targeted process from the date of registration. Registration may take a couple of weeks. That 8 weeks is broken down into two parts, the first part is the consultation period which is 3 weeks of the 8-week process. During this time the local authority opens the application for comments, these can be from neighbours, parish council and internal departments like Highways, or Ecology within the council. After this point, the Case Officer may request additional information or ask you to make small changes to your plans in order to make their decision. It is important to respond promptly and professionally to any feedback you receive.
- Attend a planning committee meeting:
Depending on the scale and complexity of your project, you may be required to attend a planning committee meeting. This will give you the opportunity to present your plans and respond to any questions or concerns that may be raised. It’s rare that you will need to do this and is triggered by certain items like the number of comments received relating to specific areas of policy. If a committee is necessary, you will likely go over the 8-week targeted process and the local authority will request an extension of time to make their decision.
- Obtain planning permission:
If your planning application is approved, you will receive planning permission. This will include any conditions that must be met, some of them before work can begin, these could be related to things like materials, landscaping, and ecology. Your Architect can help you understand these conditions and will also apply to ‘discharge’ these conditions for you at the appropriate times. Unless otherwise stated on the decision notice, you have 3 years in which to implement your approved plans. This means that work must have visibly started on site and progressed above ground. What kind of projects get planning permission? A huge variety!
Take a look at some of our planning successes from last year. https://www.bbd-architects.co.uk/news/jumping-through-the-loops-in-2022/
- Moving on to the next stage:
Once you have obtained planning permission, you can begin to plan the construction of your renovation project. This will mean working with your architect to compile detailed drawings for Building Regulations and for the builder. It is important to ensure that you comply with all the conditions set out in your planning permission, there is usually a condition that will detail construction times to minimise the risk of noise disruption to your neighbours.
In summary, obtaining planning permission for a home renovation can be a challenging process. It is important to seek professional advice early in the process, so you have a strong application that gives you the best chance of a positive outcome and to be responsive to any feedback or concerns raised by the local planning authority or your neighbours. With careful planning and preparation, and the right team in place, however, you can successfully navigate the planning process and achieve your renovation goals.
Click HERE to download an example Design Statement that we will submit along with your planning application to tell the story of your project to the Local Authority. This particular document was submitted to the New Forest National Park Authority and works brilliantly – helping us to secure permission for a fabulous extension for our client.
Still unsure if you need planning permission or if could you go down the permitted development route?
Read our blog HERE to find out what is right for you.
Written by Emily Hamblin and Verity Lovelock, April 2023.