We are buying an Edwardian house in a conservation area (not listed). The house has a front garden that is big enough to convert to a driveway for two cars. At the back is a tandem garage accessed through a backstreet.
We want to demolish the garage to double the size of the garden, and create a driveway at the front. The road is a busy A road, but almost all of the houses on the road have dropped kerbs and front driveways. The only houses that don't are the 8 or so houses that have access at the back. The house next door to ours however does have access at the back but also has a dropped kerb and front driveway. There is a tree on the road but we don't think it will impact where our drive entry would be.
We did a pre application to the council, who suggested we were unlikely to get planning if we had to impact the tree (fair enough) but thatwe would have to prove that we needed parking at the front rather than the back, as no other houses with the back street access have applied for planning. We did not realise at the time that the next door house did have access at both sides.
How do we best attack an application?
1. What reasons would be acceptable for not wanting to use the back? The garage is an eyesore and difficult to reverse into and we would remove anyway, but a car port/back driveway would be less secure from the backstreet? Reduction in congestion in the back street? Visitor parking? Multiple cars? Has anyone had a success in something like this?
2. Who do we get to help us with our application? We want to prove that we would do a really sympathetic job to protect the conservation area (retain most of stone wall, single width driveway). Is this an architect or do people specialise in this? Should we get an independent expert to prove the tree is not an issue?
Sorry this is long - if anyone has any guidance would be appreciated.