Planning permission is no longer needed by the majority of homeowners for loft conversions and rear extensions, leading to around a quarter of all planning applications being removed from the system. Non-overbearing loft conversions will enjoy automatic permission. Rear extensions will no longer have a cap on volume. Find out more here.
Jason Harris, who is an architect and md of T-Space, said: 'Planning is the mechanism that enables the government to control how the country is developed, which they do via the local authorities. The Development Control departments of the local authority administer the system.'
'In the majority of cases, applications concern existing buildings, or existing settlement areas. In these cases, the planning considerations generally revolve around the neighbourliness of the design, and the acceptability of the resulting building for its occupiers.'
'Planners will want to see that it suits the general character of the area, does not cause privacy problems for others, does not add an undue burden such as parking, and that it provides suitable amenity for the future users - such as outdoor space, rooms that are of an acceptable size and rooms that have natural light.'
Otherwise, he notes, additional levels of control are applied in areas such as Listed Buildings, the Green Belt and Conservation Areas. The most common are the restrictions imposed by Conservation Area status. These are intended to protect an area that has a particularly well-preserved character. The main concern is the appearance from the street, so modifications such as loft conversions, replacement windows and overcladding are controlled.
The demolition of portions of a building also requires Conservation Area consent. These special designations allow the local authority a greater degree of autonomy on how to protect an area. The decisions are often referred to a handful of officers who deal with conservation matters, and their decisions are more subjective than those in general planning.
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