Lou, esteemed forum member hailing from Hampshire, England, recently posted this interesting story about his experience getting permission to build there:
Don't miss his build thread.Lou wrote:this could be really helpful to anyone building in the U.K.
Government legislation dictates that every domestic property in the U.K. has a ‘Permitted Development Right’. In simple terms, this represents a mandatory right to extend/develop your dwelling without the necessary need for planning, if you meet certain criteria. For a semi-detached property this is currently 50 cubic meters, and for a detached, it’s 70 cubic meters. Now what this means in reality, is that if you visit your local Council Offices and pick up their leaflets on planning, you’ll look through the flowchart of questions, and if you answer 'no' to all those questions, you’ll almost certainly not need ‘Planning Permission’. This is exactly what I did back in Dec last year before I joined the forum. Not infringing a public highway, not building higher than the existing building, blah blah, you name it, I was totally within the planning criteria. It wasn’t until I went back to the offices in early March to let them know what I was intending, that I found out that the permitted development right for our home was removed by the Council themselves when it was built back in 1976! This did not show up on the 'Land Searches' when we purchassed. Shit, Bummer etc. Guys I urge you all to watch for this one as it proves, (Keith would rightly be so quick to point this out), that you can’t assume anything when it comes to ‘Codes and Permits’ (Building Regs/Planning in U.K. speak).
Ok, so what seemed then like a potentially disastrous set-back, turned out to have a couple of positives.
1. Since the Council removed the development right, we didn’t need to pay for the planning application. Nice one!
2. More than that, since we had effectively no right to build, we didn’t need to apply for a ‘change of use’. Now this bit is critical since it was the change of use gag that could have potentially ruined the whole project, and I didn’t even know it.
Faced with this unexpected situation, I clearly had no alternative but to submit an application. This wasn’t easy as we want to build a conservatory on the back of the house as well. The next step had to be to get someone to design the conservatory, and then get an Architect to draw everything up so that all the building work could be submitted on the same application. This of course takes a shed-load of time, but, lo and behold, the application for a single storey garage extension to the front, and conservatory to the rear was submitted on the 1st May.
Now as anyone here in the U.K. will tell you, Local Authorities seem to take an unbelievable amount of time to get their act together – two months minimum to be precise!
No worries Lou, go have a chat to the neighbours before they’re informed by the Council of what’s going on. They were all cool, but concerned about, guess what, noise! How many times do we talk studio to the over fifty fives, and they automatically think of unbearable noise levels, heavy-rock bands turning up in dodgy vans at 1.00am, groupies taking drugs, pizza boxes all over the drive, empty beer cans in the street etc? (As if I’d tolerate pizza boxes on the drive!) This really hacks me off, but I kept my cool, went and saw them all, and explained that I’d been producing music in the house for over two years, and they in turn, confirmed that they’d heard nothing. (No they’re not all deaf!) So there I was thinking all was going as smoothly as it could, when I found out that one of them had put in a letter of complaint after meeting with me!!! Hypocrite!
Here comes the next bonus for U.K. builders, (if there’s no change of use issue), noise has nothing to do with planning. This is solely down to environmental heath, which in turn means, build it properly to give maximum isolation and absorption, and if there is no disturbance, your neighbours have no right to complain. They could of course winge on about increased traffic, but hell, we’re not cutting peoples’ hair! A client in a studio is likely to be there all day, hardly highway congestion!
What this all translates to, is that I’m currently just over three months behind schedule, and at the real risk of upsetting the very people here who have offered me so much help: Kendale, Gulfo and of course John – (thank you all again). I had no idea that there might be an issue with this, and nether would I have started posting back in December if I thought there would be.
The end result, (I hope you’ll all be glad to know), is that my application was approved and ‘rubber stamped’ on the 28th June, so in short Gentlemen we are ‘clear to go’ and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it - yippee!