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Council just rejected my extension plans !!! Help !!! :((((

(37 Posts)
mumtosp Tue 09-Feb-16 17:47:24

Hi all,

I am hoping someone can come along and offer some advice as I seem to have an architect who is bad at communicating and may also not know what he's doing... and I am now in a panic ! sad

I've attached pictures of the original plan and also the extension. You can see in the original plan, that the house has been extended to the side, beyond the original side line of the house and this was done under permission.

So my architect said that since we are doing a rear extension of 6m, that falls under permitted developement (PD) as opposed to needing planning permissions. Everything was submitted end of Dec and we were hoping to get everything approved by now. Then this morning, when the architect called the council, they said it was rejected sad sad sad (this is the Bromley council btw)

My council apparently told my architect that it will be approved only if we demolish the existing side extension - where the WC is. This didn't make any sense to me as the current extension has already been approved by the council!

So I called the council myself and they said that under permitted developement, the rear extension cannot touch the side extension even if the side extention was previously approved. They also said that this is the rule and the architect should have known not to submit this as a 'permitted developement' project! I have also read on a few other websites and they all seem to say the same thing.

My architect keeps on insisting that this rule falls under a grey area and every council interprets it differently! Is that so???

Also, he is saying that if we want to stick to our 6 m extention, then we should do what the council is saying and knock down the existing side extention.
So then I told him, why can't we just submit this as a proper planing permission and keep the side extension... he says that under planning permission I can only get a rear extension of 4 m... is that correct ???

I don't know what to do next sad sad

Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance smile

wonkylegs Tue 09-Feb-16 18:02:37

Permitted development will take in to account existing extensions as part of what is already allowed so in your case I would have applied for planning permission and not gone for PD. There are limits to what is acceptable for extensions but it depends on the developed area of the plot and also local planning guidance, relationship to neighbouring properties etc. it is not a hard and fast 4m rule, he may be correct though of this is what your circumstances dictate.
A good starting point for guidance is the planning portal website this will give you a good overall view as a householder, your council probably (not all do but most do) has a householder guidance section on their planning section of their website which gives guidance for your circumstances. If you can't find it (sometimes they are good at hiding them) let me know what council it is and I'll have a look for you.

AveEldon Tue 09-Feb-16 18:06:35

Has anyone else in your street with a similar house done a similar extension?

wonkylegs Tue 09-Feb-16 18:12:13

Just saw it was Bromley - had a look at their website and didn't see anything amazingly helpful but I'm just on my phone. They do link to the PD rules which if you can wade through them explain PD with diagrams
They just point householders towards the planning portal for guidance as to what is likely to be acceptable for a planning application, so I'd start by looking there.

Imperialleather2 Tue 09-Feb-16 19:59:26

I'm.ij exactly this situation although nothing is built yet. We have a 5M deep.extension approved under Pd but we now a side extension and have to resubmit the whole lot. Likewise under planning permission we won't get 5M for the back extension

. I asked planning my planning guy what he thought and he.didnt.think it would he a problem and didn't mention the not.touching aspect. worried.sorry I know that is not help!

Quodlibet Tue 09-Feb-16 20:29:45

I would just accept demolishing the side extension - it's only small and won't massively alter the dimensions of the room your architect has proposed. Presumably you can do the demolition as part of the build - you don't have to do it prior!

notthe1Parrot Tue 09-Feb-16 21:10:17

Our planning department (outer London) offers a pre-planning advice service (I expect you pay for it!). Many of the rejections I see on the planning portal have not taken up this offer....

Fizrim Tue 09-Feb-16 21:18:38

Is it (the planning permission) something to do with the extension being a certain percentage of the current floor space? I'm no expert, though!

mumtosp Tue 09-Feb-16 22:18:36

Hi all,

Thanks for your replies!

Imperial Our build also hasn't started yet... in fact we just completed on the property last week and intend to continue renting till the build on the new property is not done.... hence why the extended time period is annoying me! All the best with your plans... I do hope they get approved smile

Parrot I will have a look at the pre-planning service... however an initial read on the website indicates that this itself is a long wait...

Quodlibet that's what we may end up doing... I just want to make sure I have all the information at hand before I do that (something my architect should have done)

wonkylegs thanks for checking ! smile the fact that you mentioned that our current plans are not valid under permitted development makes me even more mad at our architect.... surely someone who does this for a living should have known that !! sad sad we are now thinking of contacting a more local architect for advice so that we know what will be allowed.... I would rather lose the side extension and get the 6m extension under PD as opposed to keeping the extension and not getting the 6m extension under planning permission....

mumtosp Wed 10-Feb-16 10:28:57

Also, I should ditch the existing architect and find a new one ... right?

McBaby Wed 10-Feb-16 12:40:50

Can't you just build the pd rear a few cm narrower so it doesn't touch the side extension and comes out fully from the back of the original house?

mumtosp Wed 10-Feb-16 13:57:26

McBaby that's another option we have thought of... will need to confirm with the architect (hopefully a new one) that then the plan will be approved smile

MrsFlorrick Wed 10-Feb-16 14:14:13

Ditch the architect. Poor advice!!

Furthermore his advice regarding what you can get planning consent for doesn't actually make sense.

Under permitted development you'd only be able to extend out to a certain distance. However you can apply for planning for a much larger extension and still obtain this. That's what it's for.

My reading of what you relaid as his advice regarding applying for planning essentially follows permitted development rules. So that way he would be guaranteed to obtain consent (you can still apply even if it's PD if you wish).

And if he advised you could use permitted development to essentially extend an existing extension, this is completely incorrect! Only a building which hasn't previously been extended (or at least after 1949) can use permitted development rights.

Bromley is about as unhelpful as councils get. If I were you and you wanted a much larger extension, then submit what is known as a pre-app. It's £90 in Bromley and they will give you a good indication as to whether they'd refuse your application or they wouldn't see any valid objection to it.

It all sounds like poor unqualified advice from an architectural technician.

Is he RiBA registered? If not he isn't really an architect and shouldn't be providing this type of advice and you should ask for your fees returned.

For example (different council same rules), I wanted to extend our current house to include a much larger kitchen diner. However part of the extension would be within 2 m of a boundary and I wanted to continue the 3.3m ceiling height of the main building into the extension.

Under permitted development I could have built the extension but only with a ceiling height of 2.4m (Max 3m eaves). So I applied for planning and was granted this. Currently sitting in extension MNing.

Get a properly qualified professional to assists you. Get a planning consultant rather than an architect for this.

wonkylegs Wed 10-Feb-16 14:31:43

Mrs Florrick - can I just make a minor correction. You do not need to be RIBA registered to be a properly qualified architect. You need to be ARB registered (architects registration board), RIBA membership is entirely voluntary and additional to registration and makes you a chartered architect but you can be qualified and legally practice without it as long as you are ARB registered.
I like many others have both!

mumtosp Sun 14-Feb-16 20:59:52

Mrs Florrick thanks for the detailed advice... So are you saying that even if we showed that we intend to demolish the sude extention where the wetroom is, we cannot get our new extension under PD? Now I am confused

FriedSprout Sun 14-Feb-16 22:04:35

Sent you a pm hope it helps grin

Waxlyrically Sun 14-Feb-16 23:37:24 might be useful to you as explains it with diagrams.

I am not clear what is an existing extension so think it is either because it projects too far back from the rear elevation as original p. 16, as a whole is too close to the boundary p.20 or because in combination the extension is now more than half the width of the original p.24. Not being PD doesn't mean you can't apply for planning permission though.

mumtosp Mon 15-Feb-16 14:32:29

Waxlyrically thanks for that link !!! that was very helpful... I now know exactly why our plans were rejected and if I can understand this, I don't see why my architect thinks this is grey area. He's the one with a degree in architecture !

Seeline Mon 15-Feb-16 14:59:45

if I can understand this, I don't see why my architect thinks this is grey area. He's the one with a degree in architecture !

Because he is not a planner - they are different!!
PD rules are generally the same for every Council - although can vary from property to property depending on the planning history.
The guidelines for development if planning permission is required vary from Council to COuncil - the guidance is contained within their Local Planning Framework.
The Bromley Local Plan policy for extensions is

The design and layout of proposals for the alteration or enlargement of residential properties will be required to satisfy all of the following criteria:
(i) the scale, form and materials of construction should respect or complement those of the host dwelling and be compatible with development in the surrounding area;
(ii) space or gaps between buildings should be respected or maintained where these contribute to the character of the area;
(iii) dormer windows should be of a size and design appropriate to the roofscape and sited away from prominent roof pitches, unless dormers are a feature of the area.*

Also residential design guidance document here:
residential design guidance

Your proposal will have to meet the requirements listed for pp to be granted if you decide to go ahead with applying.

MrsPJones Mon 15-Feb-16 21:56:01

We used when our application was declined. The guy is a former planning officer. We were really happy with his advice and service.

shovetheholly Tue 16-Feb-16 09:26:11

I don't understand... why don't you just take it through planning, instead of trying to squeak it through permitted development? It doesn't cost that much (proportionately to the build)?

mumtosp Wed 17-Feb-16 19:57:00

Seeline and MrsPJones thanks for the added info! smile

shovetheholly we didn't want to go through planning as that would restrict us to a 3m extention where as under PD we can have 6m... which is what other others on the street have already done....


mumtosp Sun 21-Feb-16 22:14:58

Update: submitted our new plans... Showing that we will demolish the existing side extension. Council has registered the plans and sent out a letter to the neighbours giving them 21 days to raise any concerns....
Last time the council rejected our plans and never sent it to the neighbours... So this is a definite progress 😊😊

Can someone explain what is a certificate of lawfulness and do I need one? If the neighbours don't our plans the council has said that we can go ahead with the build.... So do I still need a certificate of lawfulness ??


shovetheholly Mon 22-Feb-16 09:41:26

mumtosp - I don't think that sounds right. I might have got this wrong because it's very hard to get clear guidance on this, but as I understand it, there are 3 'levels':

- permitted development up to 3 metres
- permitted development up to 6 metres, which is subject to neighbour consultation and notification of the local planning team but NOT full planning permission (which is what you're doing)
- full planning permission: where planners will consider the merits/demerits of the scheme individually. This means you can actually go larger than the PD limits in some cases.

I think the Certificate of Lawfulness is just an official, written confirmation that your proposals fall into one of the first two categories, and that they are legal and do not require full planning permission.

I'm sure someone who is an expert in this area will clear this up!!

Seeline Mon 22-Feb-16 09:59:01

shove is basically correct.
If something doesn't meet the pd requirements, tehn you need to apply for full planning permission. PP can be granted, and often is, for developments that exceed the pd limits. Each Council will have its own policies (as referred to in my previous post) which it will use to assess the development. If the proposal meets those requirements, pp can be given. The Council will look at things such as the impact on neighbouring properties in terms of overlooking and visual impact, and the impact on the character and appearance of the area.

A Certificate of Lawfulness for a Proposed Development can be granted if a formal application is made for a proposal which meets all the requirements of pd. they can be useful to show that pp wasn't required for a development when selling a property.

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