Problems with Planning Permission for Home Extensions



Over time as your circumstances change or family grows, you may find the need to extend your home. This can be a truly exciting time, with the possibility of creating something new and altering the appearance of your home. While re-arranging the storage space in your home to prepare for your extension you may get the opportunity to re-discover old memories, with the added prospect of creating new ones.

Designing your extension is an especially exciting time, especially if you have a talented architect to guide you through the process. This excitement is however short lived as you move from the design stage to the process of applying for planning permission and building control approval.

There are some circumstances where your extension will be exempt, but most will require consent from your Local Authority. This can be a long and laborious process, which requires a lot of patience. Generally the design stage of the extension will take about a week, then once the application is sent your council should make a decision within 8 weeks. Hopefully after 8 weeks you will have a positive decision and you can continue with the next stage of the build. But this is not always the case.


Delayed Planning Decisions


The council may decide they cannot make a decision within the 8 weeks and ask for additional time. They may or may not give a reason for the delay. If they do then perhaps you can push things forwards, but sometimes these delays may be caused because there are a high number of applications or perhaps there are problems communicating between departments (this can happen when adding a driveway and highways need to be involved).

So what happens if you reject the request for additional time? Well your application is declined. You may then appeal the decision, but without a legitimate reason for refusal, the appeal can be very difficult and time consuming, so it really isn’t an option.


Rejected Planning Applications


Most home extension applications will be approved, provided they are well designed and do not have a negative impact on the neighbourhood. If your planning application is rejected they will usually give a fairly detailed explanation. Perhaps you can push it through with a few minor alterations. You may need a complete re-design; or worst case scenario you may have to accept you cannot extend your home. You will have the right to appeal the decision, but this can be a long, drawn out and expensive process.


How to Avoid Planning Problems


It is important your Planning Application includes all the information the Council will need to make their decision. The drawings needs to be well presented and easy to “read”, with details of the materials used and include any important dimensions (measurements). If you are going to add a driveway, for example if building a garage, then you should speak to the highways department and try to prepare beforehand.

If your home is in a conservation area or the building is listed then you should speak to your local planning and conservation officers. While the ultimate decision made by a committee they can give you an idea of what will be accepted and if there is anything they really won’t support.

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