Planning is a complex system that has numerous exceptions
and booby-traps for the unwary - you're going to need professional advice.
Chartered surveyors understand planning law and the effect that any
development will have on the future use and value of your property. They can
act as your personal agent in all planning and business property matters.
This guide provides an outline of the rules in England. Different
regulations cover Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you own a listed
building, or your premises are in a conservation area, different and
stricter rules apply.
All forms of 'development' need some form or permission. The
Town and Country Planning Act defines development as being: The carrying out
of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under
land or the making of any material change in the use of any building or
other land.' You must get permission for: Major extensions or large
additional buildings within the property's boundary.
Entirely new buildings - discuss your proposal informally
with the local planning authority before submitting an application. They
will be able to advise you whether or not planning permission is likely to
be granted and how any difficulties with your proposal can be overcome.
There are exceptions to the general rule. You don't need
permission for, for example: Internal alterations (though changes to listed
buildings may need listed building consent); Small external alterations,
such as walls and fences below a certain height; Some minor extensions or
additional buildings. However, the rules are complex and you should take professional advice.
Certain changes of use. You or your chartered surveyor can
check whether you'll need permission informally with the local planning
authority. Alternatively, for a fee you can get a formal decision from the
authority known as a 'lawful development certificate'.
Yes. Your local planning authority can advise you on whether
or not you'll get permission when you buy or lease the premises. For
something more formal, you can go through the lawful development certificate
procedure. You don't need permission if the new use is in the same class as
the existing use. And sometimes it's also possible to change the use between
classes without needing permission.
Not if you're using just one room of your home as: A
personal office, a doctor's or dentist's consulting room, for music or
language teaching. But there are conditions. For example, the character of
the house must remain as a private home and you must not disturb your
neighbours. Check with the local planning authority to be on the safe side.
There are two categories of planning permission: 'outline
planning permission' and 'full planning permission'. If you need full
planning permission you must send in all the details of the proposal,
including detailed drawings, with the application. Although detailed plans
may not be necessary in change of use cases.
Only for new buildings and where you want to find out if the
proposal is acceptable, without providing detailed drawings of the scheme.
When outline permission is granted, you need to get full approval before
work can start.
You apply, with the appropriate forms and a fee, to your
local planning authority. The fees are the same across England, but the
amount depends on what you want to do. Anyone can make an application,
regardless of who owns the land or buildings. However, if you are not the
owner of the entire site, you must formally notify the legal owner and
anyone else who has a legitimate interest. Where applications are complex
ask your chartered surveyor to submit the application for you.
It should be eight weeks from the registration date, but in
reality it usually takes longer. You are allowed to attend the planning
committee meeting and certain local authorities also let you or your agents
to speak to the committee. If your scheme needs Environmental Impact
Assessment, the statutory limit is 16 weeks.
Once permission is granted your development must begin
within five years of the date of permission. But sometimes permission is
granted subject to certain conditions, such as: restricting the use of the
premises, restricting the hours of operation of a business, needing
specific approval for the materials to be used before the development can go
ahead. If you're not happy with the conditions, you or your agent can
discuss the matter with the local authority to see if an alternative can be
negotiated. You may have to submit another application. Or you can appeal.
Yes, but the decision document will clearly itemise the
reasons why you've been refused. So talk to the planning officer to see
whether, if you were to change your plans to overcome the objections, it
would be worth making a further application. If you don't want to change the
proposal or if it is clear that the local authority objects in principle to
the scheme, then you can appeal (see below).
You may appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment
or the Secretary of State for Wales against the local authority's decision.
You must make your appeal, within six months of the local authorities
decision, to the Planning Inspectorate. If no decision is issued, make the
appeal within six months of the end of the period when the decision should
have been made. You can get appeal forms from the inspectorate's offices in
Bristol. Appeals can be made in one of three ways. It depends how complex
the case is. Speak to your chartered surveyor to find out which is right for
your particular case. They can even make the appeal on your behalf.
If you carry out construction work or change the use of the
premises without getting the planning permission, the local planning
authority may simply ask you to apply retrospectively for permission. Local
planning authorities look at each application on its merits, so don't assume
you'll be granted permission just because the building is finished. It may
issue an 'enforcement notice', setting out what you must do solve the
problem - which in extreme cases could involve demolishing the building that
you have built. You can, however, appeal to the Secretary of State against
an enforcement notice. If you don't comply with a condition of a planning
permission, the local authority may issue a 'breach of condition notice'.
You have no right of appeal against such a notice.