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Buying with view to extend - help!

(16 Posts)
Pesaluro Mon 02-Jan-17 12:20:45

I am viewing a house this week that looks like it has potential from the details. I know from the floor plans that it wouldn't be right for me unless I could extend it quite significantly.

Here's the problem - I am completely inexperienced! The property has a fair chunk of land to the front and side but only a small back garden. I'd want to extend into the front and around the side and completely change the layout of the downstairs.

I've just read a little on another thread and someone advised that you can arrange a pre planning meeting with a lot of local authorities to give you a heads up on whether what you're suggesting is realistic. Also people have advised to look at nearby properties to see if they've had similar. But as this is a corner plot and no other house like it nearby I can't really do that.

I'm not sure on the order of everything - I don't want to instruct an architect and apply for planning permission before I've bought but how will I know if what I'm suggesting is likely to be accepted?

Getting so confused! Any help appreciated.

poochiepants Mon 02-Jan-17 12:44:30

You could see if you could find an architect/designer who could give you an advisory consultation without any drawings - they could advise on what may or may not be possible, without any guarantees though, but at least it would give you an idea. They'd likely charge a fee, but you could negotiate to see if that can be offset against a future appointment to work on the property plans proper. And also, speak to the local council, and see if they could drop by to give advice. Some councils charge for this, so be sure to check in advance.

If you have any plans (am guessing you do from the estate agent)?

Kidnapped Mon 02-Jan-17 13:03:24

Extending to the front is not normally allowed, I don't think.

In all the places I've lived, local planning would not allow you to extend beyond the existing building line at the front of the property (apart from porches). So you need to call your local Planning office and ask about that.

You can normally extend to the rear and side, unless it is a conservation area or the building is listed.

You can go and check a dozen neighbouring streets to see how extensions have been done. You can use Google StreetView if you can't be bothered to go out. The aerial view will let you see houses with similar corner plots to yours.

ShortLass Mon 02-Jan-17 13:10:54

I think kidnapped is referring to "permitted development" which you can do without planning permission (add a porch, extend out the back as long as it's not too big etc).

If you want to extend beyond the front elevation of the house you would need proper planning permission. As said above, you can ask the local authority for guidance on how easy/difficult they think it would be to achieve.

Kidnapped Mon 02-Jan-17 13:34:32

I wasn't talking about permitted development. I was talking about getting planning permission for a front extension.

Here's what our local council says:

Large scale extensions to the front of properties are generally not acceptable to the Local Planning Authority. However, in certain circumstances an extension to the front of a property can be acceptable, such applications will be treated on their merits but extensions are generally not acceptable if:

- they would detract unduly from the street scene.
- they would detract from the overall appearance of the building.
- they would detract from the amenities of adjoining properties.
- they would be detrimental to highway safety.

The following will also be taken into account when considering these:-

- A minimum distance of 21.0 metres should be retained between overlooking habitable windows on that of the new extension and those in existing properties (see below).
- No part of the extension should come within 2 metres of any highway.
- Care should be taken with the design of the extension to avoid detracting from the overall appearance of the building. This is of particular importance in the case of semi-detached of terraced properties, where one house is part of an architectural unit.

Pesaluro Mon 02-Jan-17 15:28:15

Thanks for all the replies. I think in the back of mind part of what you've posted from your council, kidnapped, is what I'm worried about. It would make a fair difference to the street especially as it's the corner plot. The approach would be very different upon driving around the corner.

I will look at the council's website for the area it's in and I could maybe give them a ring. My instinct is saying I doubt it would get passed though.

Thanks again!

Kidnapped Mon 02-Jan-17 15:42:50

Yes, it is worth checking out.

Remember though, that a rear extension and side extension would have much more chance of being passed.

That might mean that you won't have much of a back garden or side garden left but there are loads of ways that you could make the front garden feel secluded.

You could effectively have a back garden at the front if that makes sense. With clever planting and screening from the road, it could be very private.

Seeline Mon 02-Jan-17 15:47:24

It depends what sort of property it is and what type of road it is.
Think semi/terrace in a road of identical houses - very unlikely.
Detached in a road of unique properties with lots of space between - quite possible.
Also need to consider distance from the road frontages - you will have to make sure that it doesn't impact on highway safety by blocking sight lines along the road, and also that you have room to park off road, if that is what you intend to do.
If it is a semi/terrace property, a front addition is unlikely if it has any impact on light/outlook of the attached property.
A single story may be more acceptable than a two storey.

Pesaluro Mon 02-Jan-17 16:31:10

Thanks, that is something to think about re turning front garden into somewhere private. There is hardly a garden at all at the back though. There would be enough to extend and make a nice kitchen but then the lovely glass windows and doors I am imagining would open out onto a wall!

The property is detached on a road of some other detached houses and bungalows and also semi detached houses. There is a drive and garage to the other side of the house so that would be fine.

It's very hard to find the right piece of advice on the councils website - there are so many different links to planning permission articles. And I don't understand the titles of any really! I will call and ask to speak to someone tomorrow I think. This discussion has made me think that the chances are slim though!

namechangedtoday15 Mon 02-Jan-17 17:01:39

Is there another road to the side? I completely agree with kidnapped - our LA is also v unlikely to grant planning permission for front extensions, or indeed side extensions if that would take the house nearer to a road - depends on layout. One of the houses on the end of our cul de sac (closest to the road) was allowed a small single storey extension but the other side was refused (it is closer to a set of crossroads).

Pesaluro Mon 02-Jan-17 19:10:38

The road goes around in a crescent and this house is one on the inside corner. So as you drive up and round to the left it's on the first corner on your left. All the back gardens of the inside houses meet up in the middle if that makes sense.

I'm looking forward to the viewing as will have the other idea in mind whereas I wouldn't have even thought of that before. Thank you! Maybe the back garden is bigger than it seems <hopeful>

user1471549018 Mon 02-Jan-17 20:36:34

Do all the houses 'match' as in built at the same type by 1 developer. If so I'd say very unlikely. If they are individual you stand more chance- lots of people knock down houses and rebuild so it's definitely possible!

sparechange Mon 02-Jan-17 20:39:45

Where we are, a pre-application meeting with the planning dept is £85, and they will also do phone appointments

Have a chat with them, explain your situation.
Nothing they say is completely binding, but is 'advisory'
So they won't promise you permission but can say what is usually approved

Cheaper than an architect and closer to current planning policy

Pesaluro Mon 02-Jan-17 20:52:11

From what I can see on street view they all look similar and by the same developer. Apart from the bungalows which seem unique.

Thank you sparechange. The viewing is on Wednesday so if I like it as much as I think I will, I'll look into a phone appointment if the council there does them.

321zerobaby Mon 02-Jan-17 21:54:55

I extended the front of my (detached) house by about 6ft in 2001. I thought it depended on the building line, same rules as a rear extension.

witwootoodleoo Mon 02-Jan-17 22:17:39

When we were buying and considering a house that would only be suitable if we could extend we paid an architect to come round with us. It was invaluable, cost about £100 I think and it was great to expert ideas and input as to what is achievable bearing in mind planning, building regs and structural issues and also an approximation of cost for the work. We didn't go ahead with the house as he enabled us to see it still would take be right for us but I'm really glad we did it

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