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Don’t Need Planning Permission – You must be joking

I remember it well!  Early 2008, the excitement that was circulating in the home improvement market was almost too much to take. Central Government had decided to change the rules on the type of work that could be carried out to domestic properties without the need for Planning Permission. Certainly not the type of news that would be reported on News at Ten, but to the small builder and homeowner it was a blessing that even the smallest amount of Local Authority red tape could be cut.

There had been several studies that had found that by excluding certain small house extensions from the Planning Process, the amount of Applications could be cut by as much as 70%. I read the document in detail and thought this will be a major change that would help the home improvement economy move much quicker.

After the excitement had died down the new General Development Order was published and it would come into effect in October 2008. I remember thinking it was a bit of a disappointment as it had been watered down and changed by the people who shout the loudest! Having said that, it appeared much simplier and thankfully, gone were the cubic content rules.

One change that was most welcome was that only one elevation of the property would be excluded from the main benefits of permitted development. Previously the owner of  a corner plot dwelling had virtually no permitted development rights, but now only the front or “principal elevation” is the protected elevation.

The amount of permitted development a property can have is well documented and not really the purpose of this article. Probably the best overview can be found on the Planning Portal website www.planningportal.gov.uk/england/public/tools/house/

Where our problems lie is in the explaining of Permitted Development to a client,  and the idea that Planning Permission is not necessary.

The issue is, that the extension or development may not require Planning Permission due to its exclusion by virtue of the GDO, but when the property is sold how can this be confirmed? You have two choices;

1)   Request a letter from the Local Planning Authority stating that the development does not require Planning Permission and 2)  Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

The first option, in my opinion, is not really worth the paper it’s written on, and the Local Planning Authority will actually state that in the letter. An alternative, is that you apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development.  This will, however, involve the same amount of work for the designer as submitting a Planning Application, and the LPA still have 8 weeks to process it!  Talk about being caught between a rock and a hard stone!

So the new GDO has reduced very little burden on the Architectural profession, the LPA and the householder. In fact it has hurt the LPA more as they have almost the same amount of work – ok, they don’t have to go out to consultation – but for half of the fee!

How can this be changed?  I think it’s simple – for it to be of any benefit, the period of time in which the LPA has to deal with LDC applications must be reduced. Personally I feel that if the Council are in possession of the relevant information, then there is no reason why they need any longer than 4 weeks in which to process it.

Author: admin

Categories: Development Control

Comments: 1 Comment

  1. From: lyion—, on June 12, 2010

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