Embarking on any home improvement project can be an exciting prospect, but it’s important to remember that any significant changes such as installing new timber windows, doors, or planning an extension or property conversion often require planning permission.
The planning application process involves submitting a detailed proposal of your planned changes to your local council. This typically includes architectural drawings and a detailed description of materials to be used, such as timber for windows and doors. If your application is rejected, it can lead to a halt in your project or, if you decide to press ahead regardless, legal enforcement action requiring you to reverse any changes made.
What is permitted development?
Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. These rights differ between residential and commercial properties. For example, smaller extensions or conversions and certain changes to windows and doors may be considered permitted development for residential properties. However, for commercial properties, these rights are more limited.
Designated areas such as Conservation Areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty or World Heritage Sites have stricter controls over what is considered permitted development. This is to preserve the special architectural and historic interest of these areas. If your property is within a designated area, it is always recommended to consult with your local planning authority before undertaking any work.
Planning for Listed buildings
Planning for Listed Buildings requires special consideration. These buildings are protected due to their historical or architectural interest, and any changes need to respect and preserve their character. Any work to a Listed Building, even minor internal alterations or replacing timber windows or doors, require Listed Building Consent from the local planning authority. Not obtaining this consent can lead to criminal prosecution.
What is an Article 4 Direction?
An Article 4 Direction is a legal tool used by local planning authorities to remove permitted development rights in certain areas. This means you may need to apply for planning permission for changes that normally would be considered permitted development.
Why is planning advice from the council so vague?
Planning regulations can seem vague due to their complexity and the need for interpretation based on individual circumstances. Councils aim to provide advice that covers a broad range of scenarios, but each case is unique and decisions are based on various factors such as the property’s location, history, and the impact of the proposed changes.
Council advice can often be somewhat ambiguous, using terms such as “like for like” when it comes to replacing property features. This raises the question, does this relate to the size, shape, materials or all of the above?
To avoid any ambiguity and risk, we would always recommend applying for an application, and we can help you with this process.
What are your options if you don’t have time for the planning process?
If time is of the essence, you could consider employing an architect or a planning consultant who can manage the planning process for you. Alternatively, you could look at undertaking works that fall under permitted development and therefore don’t require a formal planning application. However, it’s important to note that rushing a project without the necessary permissions can lead to bigger problems down the line.
Remember, planning permission is there to protect the interests of everyone: you, your neighbours and the wider community. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you have the right permissions in place before you start work on your project.
At Parsons Joinery, we pride ourselves on having a diligent planning team who expertly handle all our applications. Our team has a wealth of experience managing applications for a diverse range of projects, including Listed Buildings and properties within heritage and conservation areas. To this day, we have successfully submitted around 300 planning applications for projects within conservation areas, and we’re proud to say that we have yet to encounter a refusal from any council for an application we’ve submitted.
The planning process for Listed buildings can often be intricate and time-consuming, requiring numerous adjustments and resubmissions until an agreeable solution is found that satisfies both the customer and the planning department. Our team will take full responsibility for managing your entire project, from inception right through to completion, including overseeing the planning process.
How much does a planning application cost for a property in a conservation area?
We charge £795 plus VAT for the entire planning process. This includes
- £250 council planning application fee.
- £50 for required purchasable items such as digital maps to show where the property is.
The cost also includes our time to produce and complete the following statements and tasks required:
Our planning team will undertake a detailed inspection of the proposed works, where they will take photographs of the property, and measure accordingly to enable them to produce the necessary drawings for the application.
The drawings of the proposed project will include scale section and elevation drawings of the whole property.
We will assess the condition of the existing property and highlight specific areas which make the works necessary.
Our team will also provide location and block plans, in addition to consulting with the council to answer any queries they may have about the application.
The experience our team boasts, along with the knowledge of conservation areas means subsequent applications are a rarity. If we are required to make amends to the application and resubmit, there will be no additional charge for that application.
WE HAVE A 100% SUCCESS RATE FOR PLANNING APPLICATIONS WITHIN CONSERVATION AREAS
How long does it take to apply and gain approval within a conservation area
Our part of the application takes approximately two to three weeks to complete. But then we are in the hands of the other party so it is difficult to give a precise turnaround time.
Your application must be ‘validated’ – a process where the council ensures all the necessary details are included before passing it for approval. If the council is dealing with a heavy workload, there might be a delay in the validation stage as a strategic move to keep their statistics favourable.
It’s quite common for the council’s planning department to request additional information on the very day a decision is due, even if there has been no communication for the prior eight weeks. They might request supplementary evidence, such as more photographs, and if these cannot be provided within the given timeframe, they might propose a 14-day extension for the decision date. Non-compliance with this request could lead to the refusal of the application.
How long does it take to apply and gain approval for a Listed Building?
The preparation and submission of a Listed Building planning application by our team typically takes around three weeks. Yet, the process of obtaining Listed Building Consent is usually a lengthier affair, often stretching between 12 to 18 weeks from the commencement point and sometimes even more. This is due to the stringent restrictions that come with listed properties, which often necessitate multiple applications to achieve a favourable outcome. For instance, a recent application for modifications to a Grade II Listed Building in Camden took nine months from submission to approval.
The duration of approval can vary significantly among different councils, as some invest more resources into planning services than others. Furthermore, the assigned Duty Planning Officer can also impact the timeline. We’ve encountered situations where the officer has been on long-term leave, and no replacement was provided.
It’s crucial to understand that the complexity of the work doesn’t influence the process. Whether you’re replacing a single window or extending the entire ground floor, your application will be lined up for the Planning Officer to address in due course.
What is the Listed Building consent process?
Planning permissions for Listed Buildings are more restrictive due to stringent preservation guidelines, making approvals somewhat challenging. Applications for such properties usually involve a more comprehensive data collection and frequent interactions with the council. Our strategy typically starts with submitting an application for the ideal project, gradually making modifications until we secure approval.
For instance, if a client wishes to have double glazing installed in their listed property, our initial application would be for that. Should it be rejected, we would then apply for Fineo glazing (a form of slim double glazing). If this too fails, we’d propose single glazing. In such scenarios, we would always consult the client about their initial preference and set realistic expectations regarding the likelihood of approval.
80% OF OUR PLANNING APPLICATIONS FOR LISTED BUILDINGS HAVE BEEN APPROVED TO DATE*