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has anyone used

(31 Posts)
mckenzie Wed 10-Aug-11 17:19:23

We are looking at a house with a view to buying it but the purchase would be on condition that we get planning permission for an upstairs extension. The council concerned have suggested that we use this website initially but either I'm being very thick or it's not as easy as it looks. The council man told me to use the interactive house but I can't see quite what I'm suppose to do with it! Any help or advice gratefully received.


GrendelsMum Wed 10-Aug-11 17:55:17

You just go to the 'Interactive House' area, click on it, and then hover over the 'house' to find the type of project you want to do.

But here's a direct link to the information on extensions for you, so you don't need to use the Interactive House at all:

minipie Wed 10-Aug-11 19:21:44

I think that site just explains what kind of projects you do and don't need planning permission for.

So for example it explains you usually don't need permission just to put skylights in, or extensions if they are under a certain size, etc.

However, if yours is the kind of project that needs permission, this site will not (I think) help you find out whether permission is likely to be granted or not. You can only find that out by (1) seeing what other people in the area have done on similar houses - that gives you an indication of what's likely to be allowed and (2) speaking to someone helpful in the planning permission dept of the council, if you can find such a person!

CristinaTheAstonishing Wed 10-Aug-11 20:01:06

I think it's a tricky situation TBH. I don't see how you could put that as a condition unless you put in the planning application first or find out if the owners have already put one in and got it rejected.

mckenzie Wed 10-Aug-11 20:45:30

I didn't explain myself properly Cristina. I just mean that we won't be putting an offer in until we are certain we will get planning permission. It's a condition that we are giving ourselves, not giving the sellers.
Thanks for all the other information. I though the interactive house was going to be some clever thing where i could put in my houses's measurements and the details of what extension i wanted to add and it would tell me if it was feasible or not. i now see that it just tells you information.
Thanks again. Back to read more smile

sixtiesqueen Wed 10-Aug-11 21:41:54

If you can give more information about what you are hoping to do, I might be able to tell you what we did. We bought a house in similar circumstances. I'm afraid you simply cannot guarantee planning permission will be granted - ours was within the 'rules' but was nearly rejected because the plannign officer 'didn't like it.'

Eventually we won the fight, but you can't guarantee anything.

ThingOne Wed 10-Aug-11 21:48:07

You cannot guarantee getting planning permission.

azazello Thu 11-Aug-11 07:02:00

You may already know that you can apply for planning permission before you buy the house, but even the most straightforward application will take 6-8 weeks to be decided and it may well be longer - I don't know how this would fit in with your timetable for the potential purchase.

Applications for planning permission are now generally made via the planning portal.

minipie Thu 11-Aug-11 10:51:14

Mckenzie, there is no way unfortunately of being certain a planning permission application will succeed until you've made the application (which you can't do until you own the house). The council may "not like it" for some reason as sixties says, or there may be objections from neighbours.

The best you can do is find out whether similar projects have been approved in the past - in which case you can reckon you have a good chance of being permitted - but even then, the council's views may have changed, or neighbours might have different views. It's always going to be a bit of a gamble.

Unless your application is the sort that doesn't require planning permission at all? I can't remember the rules off the top of my head but I seem to recall that extensions that don't add more than a certain % of volume to the house do not need permission (though there are extra rules if you're in a conservation area). Might you fall within that? is it just a small extension?

minipie Thu 11-Aug-11 10:52:33

didn't read azazello's post - I stand corrected, looks like you can apply before buying the house. But I doubt most people would want to as you'd have to spend all the money on the plans and application before you even knew you were going to get the house...

mckenzie Thu 11-Aug-11 11:09:48

thanks for al there replies. I've checked with the council and we can apply before we buy the house but as you say azazello, that will take 6-8 weeks and be quite costly with architect plans etc.

The house is detached and the other houses in the area are all quite different so it's tricky to look at what others have been allowed to do to see if this would be approved, plus the houses either side of it are different shapes/designs and sizes and on different planes. The house on one side is actually lower because of a slight decline on the road and so I'm concerned that we would be turned down because of over looking into their garden.

The house currently has already been extended on the ground floor and we would like to cover the same area but on the first floor to extend the bedrooms and hallway. As we are not extending the size of the base, does this work in our favour I wonder?

Unfortunately we are outside the percentage of the original house requirement figure so will definitely need permission.

DH is going to see the owner tonight to check that they didn't try for approval for a double storey extension when they did their single storey one, and have it declined.

I really really would like to buy this house (the gardens are gorgeous smile but it will be a 'forever' house for us and so the first floor extension is a must. Fingers crossed.

Pendeen Thu 11-Aug-11 15:20:05


As you have deduced from the web site that your proposal is 'Permitted Development' then it is more than likely that you will not be able to obtain planning consent because the comprehensive relaxation of the rules in 2008 was meant to free up planning departments from dealing with most cases where consent would be granted.

In other words, the sort of extension you are considering would have been one which would have probably attracted criticism and objections or was in contravention of local planning guidelines anyway.

Your tactic of finding out what was aproved previously and if there were any problems is probably the best way forward. If not, you can ask the council for informal guidance however they are now allowed to charge for this.

Pendeen Thu 11-Aug-11 15:21:40

sorry, I meant ".....not Permitted Development....."

mckenzie Thu 11-Aug-11 17:23:57

thanks Pendeen (well, sort of sad)

Pendeen Thu 11-Aug-11 17:36:51


I was trying to give you an idea of the likely outcome but I didn't intend it to sound so negative! I should have phrased it better.

minipie Thu 11-Aug-11 17:44:23

Hmm pendeen but it can't be the case, surely, that anything that's not allowed under Permitted Development will probably get refused PP?

Because if that was the case, why bother having a planning permission system at all.

There must be some developments which are not Permitted and so do require PP but which do end up getting approved.

mckenzie Thu 11-Aug-11 19:17:45

don't worry Pendeen, I was only kidding. I need for you guys to keep my feet on the ground anyway. I love this house so much (or at least lots of bits of the house and the garden and location etc) that I've pretty much bought it, extended it and moved in already in my

MissMarjoribanks Thu 11-Aug-11 19:40:00

About 95% of householder planning applications are approved, so it definitely isn't the case that something that isn't permitted development won't get planning permission.

A first floor side extension will need planning permission though.

If you want to see if you will get permission before you buy, you don't need architect drawn plans. As long as they are to scale, clear, legible and in metric measurements, you can do them yourself. To scale is as simple as 1cm on the plan = 1m on the ground (1:100). You need to find out what plans your council needs though - existing and proposed / part / full floorplans. If the current owners got planning permission for the existing extension you could use those plans as a template.

sixtiesqueen Thu 11-Aug-11 22:31:00

I guess you need to look at why somebody MIGHT object. Does it overlook anyone? Does it break the 45 degree code? Could it be considered 'overbearing'?. Also, what's the distance from the neighbouring property? Does it block anybody's access to light (which way does it face?)

Can you post a link, because we could look at it on google earth and it would make more sense (and it's possible to estimate the distances too). I have a blog at if you want to read about my battle with the planners!

sixtiesqueen Thu 11-Aug-11 22:32:30

Oh I meant to add, you could take an architect to look at it - ask the planning department to recommend one - he/she will then be familiar with the local planners and know what's likely to be passed.

mckenzie Thu 11-Aug-11 23:10:33

thank you, you're all being so helpful. This si the properly.
We would like to just go over the ground floor extension that your an see the current owners have already done.
sixties queen, that's a good idea about the architect although might do what MissMarje has suggested and drawn them up ourselves to save a few £.

MissMarjoribanks Thu 11-Aug-11 23:27:13

Unless its in the Green Belt, you'll likely get planning permission for that. Avoid side windows to avoid overlooking, though given the size of the plots even that might not be a problem.

BTW, to pre-empt your next question, yes you do need planning permission for a swimming pool. grin

sixtiesqueen Thu 11-Aug-11 23:55:15

We didn't pay for the architect to come and give an opinion before we bought the house. We only paid him after he drew the plans

sixtiesqueen Thu 11-Aug-11 23:57:48

I can't see why you wouldn't get permission. I take your point (from the photo of the rear elevation) that the house appears higher than the neighbouring property but I'm guessing there's a fair separation distance between the two. It's lovely, by the way!

mckenzie Fri 12-Aug-11 07:55:44

thanks for the replies. It is green belt but we won't be putting in a swimming pool, or at least not for quite a while. There won't be any money left in the pot. grin

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