English Heritage Buildings Guide to Planning Permission

You’ve decided on a new oak frame building, but before you get into the detail of the design and structure, a key part of the preparatory process is to consider the feasibility of the project and secure consent from your Local Authority for an addition to a property. The most common forms of consent are Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent and Certificate of Lawful Use (for Permitted Development).

This guide explains all the details — from what planning permission is and when you need it, through to costs and timescales, whether to use a Planning Consultant and what to do if your application has been rejected.

When to start the planning process

When you’re looking at embarking on an oak frame building it’s important to plan as early, and as thoroughly, as possible in order to avoid disappointment and delays.

Consider the size and scale of the build and your design priorities – aim to make the fundamental decisions about how you will achieve these early on. If you haven’t already, start to consider your design and make contact with planners as early in your project process as you can.

Planning Permission may not be granted for all the aspects of your initial ideas. Therefore, be prepared to compromise in order to move forward with your project.

It is also useful to know that you can submit an infinite number of planning applications on any one site — and choose which one to use. As long as it is current, you don’t have to use the most recent.

Initial considerations for the feasibility of your project:

  • What type of land the building will be placed on. Is it, for example, on designated land such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or within the Green Belt?
  • Whether the building will be subservient to the main house.
  • The position of the building in relation to the main house.
  • Whether the building is within a residential curtilage. It can be very difficult, for example,  to build an outbuilding for leisure use on agricultural land.
  • How visible the building will be to neighbours and/or any main roads.

As a general guide you will require Planning Permission if:

  • Your property is a Listed Building and your proposal affects this or is to be built within its grounds. Careful consideration will need to be given to the design and location of the proposal and the aim should be to minimise alterations to the historic fabric of the property. Outbuildings within the curtilage of a Listed Building or extensions to Listed Buildings will generally require Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission.
  • Your project lies on designated land and the new building is to the side or front of the house. Properties within designated land including National Parks and The Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites and have stricter policies to adhere to.
  • Your intended development is closer than the nearest part of the original house to the highway. (The term original house means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948)
  • Your proposed ridge height will be higher than four metres.
  • Your project lies within an area where planning permission is required for an agricultural building.

Extensions or outbuildings within the residential (garden) curtilage of the site can be submitted under a Householder Planning Application. Any development outside the residential curtilage or those applications for a new dwelling will need to be submitted under a Full Planning Application.

Consulting the Local Authority in the first instance, by way of a pre-application, may help to smooth the path for a successful application. This could be particularly useful for proposals including a new dwelling or sensitive applications such as Listed Buildings (or those in the curtilage of) and Conservation Areas.

Permitted development

Permitted development is permission granted by Parliament that allows householders to improve and extend their home without the need to apply for Planning Permission.

If your project involves the creation of a new dwelling (by either building from scratch or subdividing an existing home), is for a large outbuilding or extension, or builds/improvements in Designated Areas or involving listed buildings, it is likely to require planning permission.

Smaller additions and improvements such as certain outbuildings (including some garages), single storey extensions such as garden rooms and orangeries and even two storey extensions, can be considered Permitted Development, if they meet certain limits and conditions.

For more information on Permitted Development and these conditions please click here.

The building design

One factor which the timings and the budget of the project entirely rely on is the design.

When applying for planning permission you should have your design specifically drawn out with all aspects of it being carefully considered.

Primarily, the material used for the build will affect your choice of design features inside and out, as well as timing. Once this decision has been made, you can begin to figure out how you would like the building to look as a whole, from large glass windows to exterior cladding and roofing options.

Oak frames have many advantages from a design point-of-view.

For example, as a structural frame it doesn’t require load bearing walls, allowing for larger open spaces.

English Heritage Buildings only work using Green Oak as quality is guaranteed. The material hardens with age and the dried wood supports and stabilises the strength of the overall structure, meaning the property has an unparalleled lifespan compared to brick or steel.

It is also a sustainable and durable building material with a number of eco-benefits. The natural insulation properties of Green Oak mean that the garage maintains a constant temperature throughout the year which reduces the need for additional heating or extra care of the vehicles during the colder months.

Altering a design after acquiring planning permission

You can make minor alterations by applying for a non-material amendment. However, major alterations could involve a further application for Full planning permission.

Planning Permission application costs

For home improvers, the current application cost in England for an extension is £206.

For a full planning permission application for a new single dwelling in England the cost is currently £462. This fee is different in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

All local planning departments use the same application form, known as 1APP. You can find the applicable form for your area and complete the application process online at the Planning Portal.

As well as fees for pre-application advice, further small costs are payable for the discharge of planning conditions that must be met before development begins.

What Should a Planning Application Include?

  • Five copies of application forms
  • The signed ownership certificate
  • A site plan, block plan, and elevations of both the existing and proposed sites
  • A Design and Access Statement
  • The correct fee

A Design and Access Statement has to accompany all planning applications besides householder building works in unprotected areas and changes of use. Statements are used to justify a proposal’s design concept and the access to it. The level of detail depends on the scale of the project and its sensitivity. Without it, planning authorities can refuse to register your planning application.

How are applications decided?

The local authority will base its decision on what are known as ‘material considerations’, which can include (but are not limited to):

  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Impact on listed building and Conservation Area
  • Nature conservation
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Proposals in the development plan
  • Parking
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic
  • Noise
  • Government policy
  • Disabled access
  • Previous planning decisions

The authority will make statutory consultations with the local Highways department, and where necessary the Environment Agency as well as others.

As part of the procedure there is also what is known as the public consultation process. This is where a sign is posted outside the address of the proposed development and any neighbours that might be affected by the project are written to and invited to view the plans and comment. Only those objections based on material considerations are taken into account.

If the neighbours do not object and the officers recommend approval, they will usually grant planning permission for a householder application using what are known as delegated powers.

If there are objections to the application then the decision will be made by a majority vote by the local planning committee. At the meeting, you or your planning consultant will be given three minutes within which to address the planning committee.

Timeframes

How long does the Planning process take?

Local authorities are supposed to determine planning applications within 10 to 12 weeks of registration, and the majority of straightforward householder applications will be dealt with within this time frame.

Included within this is the public consultation process that takes 3 to 8 weeks.

How long does Planning Permission last?

You have three years from the date full consent is granted to begin building, unless your permission states otherwise. If you have sufficient time to make what is known as a ‘material start’ then it may be wise to secure the permission in perpetuity, allowing you the time needed to get started properly.

If the expiry date is imminent, it may be best to reapply to ensure you have enough time to plan and deliver your project. Avoid buying a plot with permission that is about to expire as the consent will expire before you have chance to get started. This is especially relevant on consents that were hard fought or where planning policy may have changed. Securing new permission may not always be possible.

Should I use a Planning Consultant?

We suggest obtaining initial comments and recommendations from a professional Planning Consultant before submitting an application for planning permission. This will help you better understand the feasibility of the project and what may or may not be possible. A professional will ensure the proposal is appropriate for your plot, design plans and stipulations of the local authority. This is a free service offered by English Heritage Buildings.

When making an application for Planning Permission, our advice is to appoint a professional Planning Adviser to do this on your behalf. Every planning application is unique and a professional’s expertise in planning policies, their understanding of Local Authorities and knowledge of ways to overcome any obstacles could prove invaluable in achieving a successful application.

The Planning Appeals Process

In England around 75% of Planning Permission applications are granted. If your application is rejected, you can either amend and resubmit it, having dealt with the reasons for refusal, or make an appeal to the planning inspectorate.

If your application isn’t successful, don’t give up, you have the right to appeal. In addition, you can submit a revised proposal, incorporating the concerns raised during the course of the original planning application. This can be done within 12 months of receiving the decision without incurring further costs to the Local Authority, so long as the principle of the proposal does not change. Approximately 40% of householder applications that are refused are later granted at appeal.

You can also withdraw an application at any time — so if you think you are going to get a refusal, you can withdraw it at any time up to the day itself, and resubmit free of charge.

For further information on Planning Permission check out our Top 5 Planning Tips.

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