Tag: planning permission

Planning Permission

Navigating Planning Appeals: Tips for Successfully Contesting Refusals

Firstly, the journey of securing planning permission for a construction project can often be intricate and fraught with challenges. While many applications are granted smoothly, there are instances when a proposal is met with a refusal from the planning authority. When this happens, all is not lost. Planning appeals provide a valuable opportunity for applicants to contest these refusals and present a strong case for reconsideration. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of planning appeals. Along with practical tips to enhance your chances of success.

Understanding Planning Appeals

A planning appeal is a legal process that allows an applicant to challenge a planning authority’s decision to refuse permission for a proposed development. The process varies by jurisdiction but generally follows a similar structure. Here are the key steps involved:

  1. Grounds for Appeal: It’s important to understand why your application was rejected. Common reasons include concerns about the impact on the local environment. Insufficient details provided in the application, or conflicts with local planning policies.
  2. Submission Deadline: So, appeals must typically be submitted within a specified timeframe after the refusal decision. This varies depending on the jurisdiction.
  3. Preparing the Appeal: A well-prepared appeal is crucial. Gather all relevant documents, including the original planning application, correspondence with the planning authority, and any supporting evidence or expert opinions that strengthen your case.
  4. Appeal Statement: This is your opportunity to present a comprehensive case, addressing the reasons for refusal and demonstrating how your proposal aligns with planning policies. Be clear, concise, and organized in your arguments.
  5. Additional Information: So, depending on the specifics of your case, you may be required to provide additional information or updated plans to address the concerns raised by the planning authority.
  6. Site Visits and Hearings: Some jurisdictions conduct site visits and hearings as part of the appeal process. This is a chance for you to present your case in person and address any questions or concerns.
  7. Decision: The appeal is reviewed by an independent body or a planning inspector. They will consider all the evidence and make a decision, either upholding the refusal or overturning it.

Tips for Appealing Against Planning Refusal

  1. Thorough Research: Understand local planning policies and regulations that apply to your proposal. This knowledge will help you tailor your appeal to align with these guidelines.
  2. Engage with Experts: If your proposal involves technical or specialized aspects, consider consulting experts such as architects, environmental consultants, or traffic engineers. Their input can bolster your case.
  3. Address Concerns Directly: In your appeal statement, tackle each reason for refusal head-on. Provide clear and compelling arguments supported by evidence to counter these concerns.
  4. Clear and Concise Communication: Present your case in a coherent and easy-to-understand manner. Avoid jargon and technical language that could confuse the decision-makers.
  5. Visual Aids: Utilize diagrams, plans, and images to visually communicate your proposal. Furthermore, these aids can effectively convey your vision to the decision-makers.
  6. Demonstrate Public Benefit: If your proposal contributes positively to the community, emphasize these benefits in your appeal. This could include job creation, improved amenities, or enhanced aesthetics.
  7. Engage with the Community: So, if local opposition played a role in the refusal, engage with the community to address their concerns and highlight any modifications you’ve made to accommodate them.
  8. Maintain Professionalism: Keep all communications and interactions with the planning authority respectful and professional. A cooperative approach can influence the decision-makers positively.
  9. Be Open to Compromise: While it’s essential to uphold the core aspects of your proposal, be open to making reasonable changes that address specific concerns.
  10. Legal Assistance: In complex cases, seeking legal counsel or the advice of a planning consultant can provide you with valuable guidance and support.


Finally, planning appeals offer a second chance to secure approval for your proposed development, even after facing a refusal from the planning authority. By meticulously preparing your appeal, addressing concerns, and presenting a well-structured case, you can significantly enhance your chances of success. In addition, remember, persistence, professionalism, and a clear demonstration of how your proposal aligns with planning policies will play a pivotal role in influencing the decision-makers’ reconsideration.

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Advice Center

All you should know about Change of use planning

What is change of use planning?  

A change of use land or building requires planning permission if it constitutes a material change of use.  

What is a material change of use in planning?  

A material change of use is when there is a change in the purpose or the circumstances in which you use a building. So, that it or any part of it is used as a dwelling where it wasn’t before.  

When does a change of use require planning permission?  

Typically, if it’s proposed to change from one use class to another, you will need planning permission. Most external building work associated with a change of use is also likely to need planning permission. However, if both present and proposed uses fall within the same ‘class’ you will often not need planning permission.  

What are use classes?  

The town and country planning order 1987 sets out various categories of use referred to as use classes. Which relate to the use of land and buildings.  

Use   The use class up to 31st August 2020Use class from 1st September 2020 
General industrial  B2 B2 
Storge or distribution  B8 B8 
Hotels, boarding, and guest houses  C1 C1 
Residential institutions  C2 C2 
Dwelling houses  C3 C3 
House in multiple occupation (HMO) C4 C4 
Non-residential: health centres, clinics, nurseries, day centres  D1 
Gymnasiums, indoor recreations D2 E  
Shops other than F2 A1 E  
Financial and professional services  A2 E  
Cafe or restaurant  A3 
Non-residential: schools, educations centers, museums, libraries, public halls, law courts, places of worship D1 F1 
Shops selling mostly essential goods, with no other facility within 1,000m A1  F2 
Hall or meeting place for the use of the local community D2 F2 
Indoor or outdoor swimming pools, skating rinks, and outdoor sports D2 F2 
Cinemas, concert halls, and dance halls D2 Sui Generis 
Pub, wine bar, or drinking establishment A4 Sui Generis 
Hot food takeaway A5 Sui Generis 
Theatres, large HMO, hostels, petrol stations, shops selling motor vehicles, retail warehouse, nightclubs, taxis, arcades, casinos, funfairs, betting offices, payday loan shops Sui Generis Sui Generis  

How long is change of use planning?  

Planning applications may take up to eight weeks to be processed. Larger or more complex projects may take longer for the planning to be accepted. If you speak with your local planning officer, they may be able to advise you on when you may get a decision.  

(Image: Corstorphine + Wright)

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Flat Conversions

What you need to know about converting a house into flats 

We all know that there aren’t enough homes in the UK for its growing population. So, converting a house into two or more flats is becoming increasingly popular. More homeowners are now realising that splitting their property into units helps them increase rental income and increase property value. 

Here is a guide on turning your house into flats –  

Firstly, do your research –  

An essential part of the process is researching the area ore looking to convert in and what the rental market looks like.  

Some of the things you need to look for is –  

  • If there are flats in demand in the area 
  • If your area is close to or within a busy commuter area 
  • And what the average rental income for similar properties in the area are.  

You should research thoroughly and compile as much information as possible before you decide to make the jump.  

Planning permission –  

If a house has to be divided into multiple plats, it will be required to acquire planning permission. The local authority will be able to decide the size of each flat, how many rooms there will be and if you will be able to go ahead with the conversion.   

If you haven’t yet purchased the house you intend to convert into flats, you should check with the local planning department before investing. Additionally, there may be certain requirements for you to consider. These can vary from; minimum flat size, soundproofing between the neighbouring flats, insulation for energy efficiency and comfort, fire safety, and potentially more. Parking availability may also play a role. 

Building regulations –  

When a property is converted, it is required to get approval under the Building Regulations. It is required under the Housing Act 2004 for sub-divided buildings to meet standards. Also. There are likely to be health and safety laws to adhere to, such as providing fire escapes, fire alarms, separate electricity supplies, and so on.   

Flats conversion costs –  

In addition the cost of converting a house into flats depends on the property. Factors that can influence the cost are: 

  • Size of the property  
  • Condition of the house 
  • Number of flats to be converted to 

Obviously, the cost varies enormously, depending on the area you choose to buy in, the style of property that you purchase, and the sort of conversion you want to carry out. So, as a ballpark figure, expect to pay around £25,000 for a basic conversion. 

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Flat pack extensions: how to save money 

Every homeowner will need extra space in their home at some point in their lives. Most people think that moving house is the only option, when in reality there are many routes, you could go down. Flat pack extensions are a great way of adding extra space, and are way cheaper than a traditional extension or moving house. 

What is a flat-pack extension?   

A flat-pack extension is a home addition that is built off-site. Either in a workshop or a factory. Once it is constructed it’s delivered to your home, and then put together by the extension provider and a contractor.   

Just like a normal extension, there are many different styles of flat-pack extensions, for example:   

  • Steel  
  • Timber   
  • Brick    
  • uPVC   

How much do flat pack extensions cost? 

On average a flat pack extension can cost between £1260 – £1680 per square metre. A single storey extension (20 sqm) between £26,250 – £35,350. Including labour costs of £150 – £250 per person per day for roughly a week. Although, these prices don’t include fittings or finishings.  

Alterations to the main house –  

By adding an extension to your home, you will be making structural changes to the property. To ensure your home stays structurally sound, you may need to add steal support beams. You might need to hire a chartered surveyor to inform you of the condition of your property before the work.  

In addition, you’ll have to hire someone to install the plumbing, electric and gas before the extension is constructed  

How much cheaper are flat pack extensions compared to a traditional one? 

Flat pack extensions are the more affordable way to add space to your home. They can typically cost 25% less than a traditional extension. 

DIY –  

Whilst you could build your own flat pack extension, it might cost you extra if you make any mistakes. So, it might be best to leave the job to the professionals, as they are more skilled and experienced.  

Copyright © 2013 Dab Architecture.

Loft Conversion

What are the planning rules for Terraced House Loft Conversions? 

When homeowners are looking to add more space to their homes, loft conversions are a great route to look down. According to the ONS UK housing report, there are more than 30% terraced houses in the country. Most of the houses are situated in areas, where people want to live. Which is why many people are looking to add on to their property.  

Factors that need to be considered –  

There are factors which need to be considered when having a loft conversion in a terraced house, but some of them apply to any kind of loft conversion: 

  • Budget 
  • Planning constraints 
  • Access from the floor below 

Budget –  

Before you do any type of work on your home, you need to make sure that you can fit it in your budget. Well done loft conversions can be pricey. For example, a simple loft conversion starting costs can be around £25k.  

Planning application –  

Loft conversions on terraced houses don’t automatically require planning permission as long as they stay within the bounds of what is known as Permitted Development. 

A loft conversion will fall under permitted development and does not require planning permission as long as it meets the following conditions: 

  • The head height must be above 2.2m.  
  • The new loft space won’t be larger than 40 cubic meters for terraced houses. 
  • The loft conversion does not extend higher than the highest part of the existing roof. 
  • The loft conversion does not include any verandas, balconies, or raised platforms. 
  • It is made using materials that are similar in appearance to the rest of the house. 
  • Any side-facing windows must be obscure-glazed (to stop people from seeing in and out). 
  • Any side-facing windows must be at least 1.7m above the ground. 
  • Your home is not located in certain designated areas, including national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), conservation areas, and World Heritage Sites. 
  • A roof extension, with the exception of hip-to-gable extensions, must be set back at least 20cm from the original eaves. 
  • A roof extension must not overhang the outer wall of the original house. 
Image: https://www.absolutelofts.com/galleries/aerial-view-of-l-shaped-dormer-loft-conversion-in-hackney-e5-east-london-victorian-terrace/

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Garage Conversion

Garage conversion: is it right for you? 

How to know a garage conversion is right for your home – 

Before you start planning, you first need to accurately assess whether converting a garage is the right option for your home or not. No doubt converting a garage have lots of benefits. But it is also true that it can put a lot of load on your bank account. 

It is easy to get planning permission for this type of conversion. However, it depends on the area you live in. Furthermore, you need to give away your garage space to get some extra living space at home. If you own a car and parking on the street is an issue, then it can devalue your home. Moreover, you need to consider which type of room you want to convert your garage in: 

  • Kitchen Extension 
  • Bedroom 
  • Bathroom 
  • Gym 
  • Cinema 
  • Family room 

Well, all of these options have their benefits. Some of them cannot help with increasing the value of your property compared to their counterparts. If you have the plan to sell your home in the future, then you should keep this in mind. 

Benefits of a garage conversion –  

There are lots of benefits when choosing a garage conversion as a way to extend your house. One of the advantages is that it is a cheap way to increase living space. If your home has two garages, then you can convert the half-space. In this way, you will have a place to park your car and extra living space for your family. 

Another great benefit is that you do not need to change the structure of the house and do not need to lay down new foundations, which can help you save a lot of money. Usually, the garage has electricity, which means it can reduce garage conversion cost even more. 

When we compare the garage conversion with other options, it is most cost-effective 

How much will it cost?  

Any type of house extension services can cost thousands of pounds. When we talk about garage conversion cost, you can expect to pay £11,000 to £25,000 in 2021. However, the actual cost of a project depends on various factors such as garage size, plans, etc. It can also add up to 20% to the value to your home.  

Loft Conversion

The best 2022 guide to a Velux loft conversion

If you’re looking to gain extra space in your home, and want to add value to the property, then a loft conversion can be a great solution.  

What is a Velux loft conversion? 

A Velux loft conversion is when the shape of the existing roof is retained and Velux windows are installed into the rafters. The rafters will have to be cut depending on the size of the new windows, the inside of the roof space is fitted out to a carefully thought-out design. The name Velux is after a famous brand of loft windows.   

Will you need planning permission?  

Most loft conversions are considered permitted development, which means you won’t need to get planning permission as long as the building work fits certain criteria. So, if you’re looking to get a simple conversion with roof windows, you generally don’t need to worry. However, it is best to check just to be safe.  

How long does a this loft conversion take to complete? 

Velux loft conversions are usually completed in between 4 and 6 weeks since they are one of the simplest conversion types. 

Cost of a Velux loft conversion –  

The average cost for a Velux loft conversion is around £27,500. However, there are various things that will affect the cost such as: 

  • Size of windows 
  • Number of windows required 
  • Type of windows 
  • Head height and space of your loft 
  • Where you live 
  • Style and quality of finishings  

Velux windows –  

A Velux window is easier to install than a dormer window, and still provides a good amount of light to the space. The windows are paired with a number of modern features, such as: 

  • Electric operation  
  • Solar operation 
  • Top hung hinges  
  • Hundreds of blinds and shutter options  
  • Extra-large balcony windows 

How they can transform your home? 

Compared to other loft conversions, Velux requires less construction and hence low cost. The main addition in the loft will be the Velux windows to transform the space. Many of our clients have used this extra space for: 

  • Bedroom 
  • Home Office 
  • Living Room 
  • Bathroom 
  • Entertainment Room 

You see, there are lots of possibilities to transform this unliveable place into something useful for the whole family. Furthermore, the windows in the loft will allow for more natural light and ventilation. If you are living in a warm area, then you can use glass that prevents sunlight from entering. 

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Everything there is to know about wraparound extensions

A wraparound extension is a great way to add space to the rear of the house for an open-plan design. Here’s what you need to know.  

What is a wraparound extension?  

Wraparound extensions are essentially a hybrid of side and rear extensions which form an L-shape at the back of the property. By maximising the space to the side and extending to the rear, the wraparound extension gives you an impressive extension that will transform how you live.  

Why choose a wraparound extension?  

With this type of extension, you can extend into the side alley of your house, if you have one. Meaning you won’t have to extend that far into your garden, which is ideal for people who have a small outside area.  

Here are some other advantages of an L-shape extension: 

  • Opens up your kitchen area 
  • Brings more light into your home 
  • Plenty of design options 
  • Allows better connection to the garden 
  • Allows space for new rooms.  

Would you need planning permission?  

It is likely that you would need planning permission for a wraparound extension. While a small side return extension and a rear extension may be possible under permitted development, there might be restrictions for joining them together.  

Permitted development rules that would apply to both the side and rear elements of wraparound extensions include: 

  • You can extend a detached property by 8m to the rear if it’s a single-storey extension. (6m for a semi or terraced house) 
  • An extension must not result in more than half the garden being covered 
  • Side extensions can only be single storey with a maximum height of 4m and a width no more than half of the original building.  

How much do they cost?  

There is no set price for a wraparound extension because every project is different and the costs vary. Averagely in London, you are looking at paying around £75,000 to £145,000, and outside of London, you can expect to pay £60,000 to £120,000.  

A few factors which will vary the prices are:  

  • Materials used. Some materials are more expensive to build with, due to their quality and accessibility.  
  • Structural work. The more structural work you have for your project will increase the construction budget.  
  • Contractors. Individual contractors are cheaper. However, they can be slower without the access to additional resources and relationships that you would like larger companies.  
How much does a wrap around extension cost? // Wrap around single storey  extension

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Loft Conversion

Adding a dormer to an existing loft conversion

There are two reasons why people may want to do this: 

  • People buy a house with an existing roofline conversion and decide they want to upgrade the loft accommodation. They might do this to make the space larger, brighter and, perhaps change the interior usage.  
  • Secondly, the loft conversion is planned in two stages to spread the cost. Or because the demand for accommodation at that time is satisfied with a simpler roofline conversion. 

What is a dormer loft conversion? 

A dormer is a box-like structure with vertical walls which come out from the roof slope. They can vary in size and style. In addition, dormers are commonly used to increase the usable space in a loft and to create window openings in the roof.  

Do you need planning permission to add dormers to an existing loft conversion? 

The same planning deliberations will apply to the upgrade just like if you were to start from scratch. If your loft conversion was built under permitted development, you shouldn’t assume that the dormer you’re adding will be as well. So, some points that may make you need planning permission are: 

  • How far the dormer windows project from the roof 
  • Whether the property is listed or in a conservation area.  
  • How much structural change is made to the appearance and height of the existing roof.  
  • The overall size of the loft conversion, the upgrade could make the conversion larger than the original design.  
  • Your neighbours are affected by your dormer. Either by being over shadowed or over looked.  
  • The dormer exceeds 40 square meters on a terraced house or 50 square meters on a semi-detached or detached house.  

Although, not all dormer conversions require planning permission. Your builder or architect will be able to advise you on whether your plans fall within permitted development rights.  

Advantages of adding a dormer –  

Dormer loft conversions are one of the most popular options when it comes to loft conversions. So, here are some advantages of adding them:  

  • They are suitable for almost every type and style of house. 
  • Dormers increase the head height and usable floor space.  
  • You can use any type of window to match the property. You aren’t confined to Velux windows or roof lights.  
  • Could add a small Juliet balcony 

How much would it cost?  

Finally, if you already have an existing loft conversion and you want to add a dormer, you should expect to pay upwards of £5000. However, this all depends on the size, style, and other factors when it comes to a dormer.  

Image: Nuprojects.co – Eige arbeid

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Architecture & Building

How much does it cost to build Annexe?

Firstly, a garden annexe can transform a family’s life. By giving the person living in the building closeness to their loved ones. Whilst maintaining the privacy of having their own space. It provides the best of both worlds, especially if the main property doesn’t have the space or privacy required to accommodate a family member.   

What is an annexe?  

An annexe is a building joined to or associated with the main building, providing additional space or accommodation. It’s a self-contained living space featuring a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. In addition, the outbuilding can be attached to the main property or housed in a converted outbuilding.  

Will you need an architect? 

While an architect isn’t essential when it comes to building an annexe because it is a project that you can DIY. However, you may want to hire an architect to help you with the planning and positioning process to make sure your project is legal and safe.  

Planning rules –  

An annexe is usually considered to be an outbuilding, which is defined as being incidental to the use of the property. This is important as it will dictate whether you need planning permission.  

The local authority is likely to have concerns over things such as:  

  • The overall size of the annexe in relation to the main house and size of your garden. 
  • The specification of the living accommodation needs to be considered ancillary to the main house to be an annexe.  
  • They will want to know the reason you want to build an annexe. And what long term plans you have for it.  

How much does it cost to build?  

On average it is estimated to cost between £68,000 to £140,000 to build an average-sized one. An annexe is known to add as much as 20-30% value to the property, so it is a great investment. People have also been known to rent out their annexes, which can be a good thing because the property owner is getting some more income.  

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