Planning permission, understanding and obtaining permission

by 22nd Apr, 2013

Unconverted barnUnconverted barn

If you want to extend your home or build a new one, the words ‘planning permission’ can strike fear. But this need not be the case. Gaining planning consent can be straight forward if you take the right approach. In some cases, planning permission may not be required at all.

At Communion, we work with our clients to ensure that gaining planning permission is a simple step in an enjoyable process that will transform your space and your life.

“We strongly appreciated the professionalism and liaison that Communion undertook on our behalf with the planners at Herefordshire Council. Without that, the process would have been incredibly stressful for us.”

Know what you want – what do you want your project to give you?

The first step in gaining planning permission is to set down your requirements. We will work with you to understand what are “must haves” and what are “nice to haves” and include all of the first group and as many of the second group as we can. To start the thinking process, you might like our Five ideas to extend your home or Re-design your kitchen in five steps blogs.

Know what you’ve got – planning law differs depending on where you live

Planning law is based on predetermined policy. If your project falls within that policy, there is no reason for planning permission not to be granted. However, whether your project falls within policy can depend on where you live. Different rules apply to a Grade I listed Georgian manor house in a rural setting to an open plan penthouse apartment in the city.

It may be that your project doesn’t require planning permission at all. Most people have permitted development rights on their property which allow you to make certain changes without the need to apply for planning permission. You can find out more about this in our Building without planning permission blog. In some cases these rights can achieve significant results that would not be permitted were you to seek planning permission.

We can advise you on whether your project falls within policy or not and advise the best way to proceed.

Communion’s approach to gaining planning permission

“Communion Design have a good working relationship with the planners and building control officer which meant process was easier.”

The way we work is always specific to your project.

When you don’t require planning permission

If no planning consent is required we can work within these established rights to help you design want you want and put you in a position to start construction works without any delay.

When your project falls within planning policy

If achieving your ideas will require planning consent, but clearly fall within adopted planning policy, we can proceed rapidly to achieve the necessary consent. We will work with you to draw up your ideas and work with you to amend them until we have captured your vision precisely. We will submit them on your behalf to your local planning office for approval.

When your project is on the edge of planning policy

If your project is unusual or on the edge of planning policy, we can ‘test the water’. This means presenting a basic outline of your project to your local planning department and requesting guidance. This will allow you to see if the project is likely to be approved or not. If it is unlikely to be approved, you will also receive guidance on the best approach for the application and what needs to be changed to make it compliant. For a small investment, this process means you gain the assurance that your idea has support and gives you the confidence to invest your time in developing the scheme to the stage where a formal proposal can be submitted. In short, it minimises the risk of wasting time and money by submitting a planning application that will not be given consent.

When architectural requirements are secondary to planning considerations

We also work in a fourth way if the project is unusually large or complex – a commercial building or series of houses, for example. In these instances, where the architectural requirements are secondary to the planning considerations, we have developed productive relationships with experienced and successful planning consultants who have a proven track record of securing consents. This ensures we put forward the strongest possible case and get the best possible outcome for you.

“The turnaround between initial discussions/meetings and planning applications was realistic. As a client we always felt that Communion were transparent and open – they never promised anything they couldn’t deliver.”