Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we get about our services.
Please contact us, if you have any other questions.
We know how stressful, confusing and time consuming it can be to submit a planning application to the council, particularly when unforeseen planning issues arise, and additional specialist information is requested. However, we pride ourselves in having all the required professional contacts such as architects, transport engineers, ecologists, acoustic engineers, conservation specialists etc, to provide a full planning and design service. We work from your initial idea to creating an individual design solution and achieving the necessary planning consents taking the strain off your shoulders and ensuring a positive result in the quickest time possible. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
In many cases you can extend your home within certain limitations under current permitted development planning legislation. However, please get in touch so we can advise you of the best way forward for your extension as sometimes having to apply for planning permission can mean that your plans are unnecessarily compromised. Achieving planning permission for your dream extension could be fully achievable and we can advise you on the likelihood of gaining the required consents. We can also suggest potential modifications and design solutions to increase this likelihood.
In most cases it will be possible to decide whether a proposal qualifies as permitted development although there will inevitably be instances where the decision is less clear cut. For peace of mind you may choose to apply for a lawful development certificate (LDC) from the council that your proposal is permitted development and does not require planning permission. These types of application are not the same as planning permission but proof that your proposal is lawful. A lawful development certificate can demonstrate that works carried out to your property are lawful which can be useful should you wish to sell your property. We can advise you, and prepare and submit on your behalf, applications for lawful development certificates for works already carried out to your property or for future proposals.
The inclusion of a supporting planning statement is a vital part of any planning application as it fully justifies the development proposal to the council in terms of planning policy, as well as considering any material considerations which could have a positive impact on the decision-making process. Having a clear, well thought out, robust planning statement is often the difference between achieving and failing to achieve planning permission. In addition, it allows the application to be assessed far more quickly as the council would have all the relevant planning information they need to make a well-informed decision. We can also provide you with a planning statement to include in your planning application submission if you wish to apply to the council yourself but want the reassurance that a professionally prepared statement would give you. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
If you own a listed building all works which affect the fabric of the property, both internally and externally, will require listed building consent in addition to any planning permissions required. You may also need listed building consent for any works to separate buildings within the grounds of a listed building. If you have any questions about this and require clarification as to whether the project you are proposing requires listed building consent, please get in touch and we will be able to advise you accordingly and guide you through the planning process from there.
The time the council takes to determine your planning application will vary depending on the complexity of the proposals and how much public interest there is. However, the council aim to determine most applications within 8 weeks, or 13 weeks for major developments. We can help maintain forward momentum during this time by promptly answering any questions the council has and providing specialist reports, additional drawings, attending site meetings and negotiating to help you achieve a positive outcome in the quickest time possible. Please get in touch so we can give you an idea of how long we anticipate the planning process will take to completion.
We can help you to realise the development potential of your site by carrying out a Planning Feasibility Study. Depending on your requirements and budget, we can carry out a site meeting or a desk top study to make an initial assessment of your site. We would then assess the site constraints, relevant planning history and your proposal against relevant planning policies before outlining the potential development options for your site and the best strategy to gain planning permission. Carrying out a Planning Feasibility Study can often be a proactive step, both in terms of cost and time, prior to the submission of a formal application. Whatever your needs and whatever the size of your project, we can provide a study that will advise you on everything you need to know before the submission of a formal application. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further
Receiving a refusal for your planning proposals can be frustrating and the thought of appealing this decision can be daunting. However, you can appeal a decision made by a council if you disagree with it or if the application hasn’t been determined within the statutory time period. The type and complexity of the application that is to be considered will determine the appeal procedure which includes written appeal statements, informal hearing or a public inquiry. We can personally represent you and speak on your behalf at a hearing or public inquiry. In addition, we will provide the appropriate appeal statements including specialist reports and legal documents and submit all the required documentation to the relevant bodies for you. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
If you have made a change to your property that requires planning permission and you have not had approval, you can submit a retrospective planning application for the work already carried out. Although the council may ask for a planning application to be submitted, it does not mean that planning permission will automatically be granted, and the application will be assessed in the usual way. On your behalf we can prepare and submit applications for retrospective permission, and where required, negotiate with the council to ensure retrospective applications are not refused where a positive outcome can be achieved.
After planning permission has been granted it may be possible to make minor changes to an already approved scheme. There are different application types which can be submitted to achieve this, often referred to as non-material amendments or minor material amendments, and the type of application required will depend largely on the scale and nature of the changes proposed. We can advise and oversee the most practical options to achieve this even on applications where we have had no prior involvement. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
A householder application covers any proposed works for the improvement, extension and alteration to a home. The threshold for a major development includes any proposal for 10+ dwellings/on a site area over 0.5 Hectares or for buildings with a floorspace over 1000 square metres or on a site over 1 hectare or more. Minor development includes any proposal under these thresholds.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was a planning charge that came into force in 2010. Most new development which creates net additional floor space of 100 square metres or more, or creates a new dwelling, is potentially liable for the levy, however some developments may be eligible for relief or exemption from the CIL. Any likely CIL charges will therefore depend on the individual proposal and specific circumstances. We can however provide initial advice on whether we believe a CIL charge is likely to be applicable to your proposal and how your council is likely to calculate this.
This depends on the nature of your proposal and whether it is classed as permitted development under current planning regulations. In some circumstances development will be permitted under national permitted development rights which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to apply for full planning permission. Permitted development rights are however subject to conditions and limitations to control impact of development. Please get in touch so we can advise you.
Changing the use of your building from one use to another will likely require planning permission, although there are exceptions where the legislation does allow some changes under permitted development rights. For some change of use proposals benefiting from permitted development, you will be required to submit a prior approval application to the council to seek approval that specified elements of the development are acceptable before work can proceed. The matters for prior approval vary depending on the type of development. We can provide services to include advice on whether your proposal is permitted development and prepare and submit on your behalf applications for prior approval. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
Firstly, get in touch with us for a free initial consultation and we can give you some pointers to think about when looking for the perfect residential plot. Once you have found your site, we can evaluate it in terms of planning policy and overall viability for a residential development. We will also highlight any planning issues you might have or any specialist reports that may be required as well as providing supporting planning statements to fully inform any planning application. You can apply for planning permission in principle or full planning permission depending on your personal interest in the site and your expected timescales for development. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further and help you decide which is the best route forward for you.
Conservation areas are defined as areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. If you live in a conservation area, you may need planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area to demolish a building or a gate, fence, wall or railing. Full planning permission is also likely to be required for most external works to your building and site, and there could be restrictions regarding the external building finishes and design. This can include new windows, new fencing, erecting a shed and even painting your front door a different colour. Please get in touch and we can guide you through the process.
The fees charged by the council will vary depending on the size and nature of the development proposed. Whatever your budget, we can add value to your project in some way. Our services range from individual plans and supporting statements to all-inclusive planning and appeal packages. Please get in touch so we can give you an idea of the potential costs associated with your project.
Pre-application is the process in which advice can be sought from the council before submitting a formal application on your development proposal. Pre-application services provided by the council are likely to be charged. In the first instance we can advise you as to whether we think pre-application advice would be of any benefit to your proposal. If so, we can prepare, submit and attend any meetings to present, negotiate or amend your proposal. Taking into account the feedback from the pre-application process, we can then assist you in developing your proposal, with the overall aim to improve the quality of your proposal and its likelihood of success when an application is submitted. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
Once planning permission is granted or refused, a decision notice is issued notifying you of the council’s decision. If permission is granted, you have three years to begin the development, unless the permission says otherwise. If the permission is subject to planning conditions, requiring you to submit for approval details of something not specified in the application (such as materials), these may need to be dealt with before the development can begin. As a planning consultant acting on your behalf, we can oversee the submission of any conditional matters to ensure that the time period between planning permission being granted and you being able to start your development is as quick as possible, whilst taking out any associated stress with the process. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
If an appeal is lost, then the decision letter is carefully scrutinised. It may be that a revised scheme can be designed to address the reasons for refusal set out in the appeal decision and a re-appraisal of the proposed development can be carried out. However, if we consider that the proposed development cannot be taken forward to meet your requirements, then this will be stated to avoid any unnecessary costs to you.
If a retrospective application is refused, the council can commence enforcement action or issue an enforcement notice which requires you to put things back as they were. We can provide advice on enforcement notices, advising best how to avoid formal enforcement action taken by the council, either through compliance of notices, through negotiation with the council or through the appeal process. Please contact us for further advice on all enforcement matters and how they can be best resolved.
You can, but what if you highlight an issue which can’t be considered as a planning matter, or even miss a key point which would have made your observations even more valid. As a planning consultant acting on your behalf, we can ensure any comments you wish to make are framed in a manner that is relevant to the planning system and will not therefore be overlooked by planning officers. Depending on your requirements, we can provide written comments outlining your concerns or can speak on your behalf on applications presented at planning committee meetings. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
The display of advertisements is controlled through a separate consent process within the planning system. There are three categories of determining whether a proposed advertisement will require an application for advertisement consent to be granted by the council. We can advise you whether your proposed advertisements will require express consent from the council and, if so, be able to prepare, submit and oversee any application required for advertisement consent. Please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.
These are legal agreements between a council and a developer, or undertakings offered unilaterally by a developer, that ensure certain extra works related to a development are undertaken. They can often be used to secure transport infrastructure improvements if planning permission is approved. Understanding and interpreting the content of Section 106 agreements can often be difficult, so please get in touch to discuss how we can help you further.