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Arggg Planning issues!

(23 Posts)
Shadowboy Fri 31-Mar-17 22:32:15

So long story but, we bought house in September 2015. Knocked down a sun room and replaced with a 3x 5 metre extension. Architects were employed who claimed they had done it to permitted development rules. Now we come to sell buyers solicitor disagrees and wants retrospective planning permission. If we do this then we lose house we want to buy due to planning permission timescales.

It's all building regulations passed and we have a completion certificate. What do we do?

heffalumpshavewrinkles Fri 31-Mar-17 22:41:24

What kind of house is it? Does a 3 or 5 metre extension come under permitted development for it? If not I can understand the solicitors are just representing their clients' interests. But I assume it does if that's what your architect advised?

Shadowboy Fri 31-Mar-17 22:46:41

Yes a 3 x 5 is within PD. The buyers solicitor believes it's outside of PD because 10 years ago it was previously extended (with PP) by a previous owner

NataliaOsipova Fri 31-Mar-17 22:51:01

Does your extension attach to the old extension, or to an original wall of the house?

Shadowboy Fri 31-Mar-17 23:01:21

It attaches to the original wall of the house. It makes no contact with the previous extension

ExplodedCloud Fri 31-Mar-17 23:03:49

Indemnity insurance? You pay for a policy to cover any issues. Probably a small cost to keep things on track.

Pooka Fri 31-Mar-17 23:05:57

webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20151113141044/http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/100806_pdforhouseholders_technicalguidance.pdf

This is a very helpful document on PD. Do you think the buyer's solicitor is going on the old General permitted development order where houses had maximum permitted cubic volume for additions (used to be 70 cubic metres for semis/detached houses)?

Shadowboy Sat 01-Apr-17 06:42:21

Explodedcloud indemnity won't cover it in this case apparently as the building regulations completion certificate is less than 12 months old even though the extension was actually complete over 14 months ago.

We think the solicitor is worried about the fact the old extension (done with planning) was more than half the width of the original house. There is no example or explanation if therefore it fits permitted development. Architects think it still does, their solicitor does not....

Shadowboy Sat 01-Apr-17 06:47:10

Also to help explain, we put reservation down on a new build and have to exchange by 14th April. If we submit planning on Monday it would take 8 weeks for a formal decision and so we wouldn't be ready to exchange until early June. Therefore would likely lose the new build,

JT05 Sat 01-Apr-17 07:30:14

When we put a small glazed extension on a house that that previously been extended, some considerable years earlier, we had to get planning permission for the new extension. The reason was that the house had already 'used' up any permitted development.

Pooka Sat 01-Apr-17 08:35:00

When you say it was done with planning, does that mean you got a lawful development certificate or full planning permission.

If you've got either of those, and the new extension complies with the PD rules, then I can't see what the problem is that the solicitor has.

Would the other solicitor accept a legal view from a planning lawyer or a planning consultant. Would be quicker to get those that apply for LDC.

Sounds a nightmare.

Pooka Sat 01-Apr-17 08:36:10

JT05 - I think the PD rules have changed and there isn't an 'allowance' as such any more.

SnowGlobes Sat 01-Apr-17 08:50:41

A planning solicitor would be able to tell you straight away and give necessary documentation if it is permitted. If it falls outside permitted development then they'd tell you immediately and you'd then need to either apply for retrospective planning or get indemnity insurance. A planning solicitor will be quick though!

Shadowboy Sat 01-Apr-17 08:54:07

Pooka- the side extension was done in 2005 with full planning permission. It is a double storey 5 x 5m extension so quite large. Our extension out the back which is 3 x5m was completed last year. When we had is designed we did it small to comply with PD. To get a lawful use certificate takes 8 weeks so we would be no better off than applying for planning retrospectively. And the LDC costs more to apply for! Nightmare!

dancingqueen345 Sat 01-Apr-17 08:57:58

The problem is that irregardless of PD rules, if it would result in the house being 50% bigger than as it stood in 1948 (or something like that), or from its original construction then yes it would need planning permission.

I'd ring the Council and see what they could do about expediting the application. They might be able to do it in 4 weeks if it's fairly non-contentious. Hopefully you've still got all the architects drawings etc.

Sorry OP, I wouldn't buy a house with an extension without planning permission either, and if this sale does fall through at least you have it for the next.

NataliaOsipova Sat 01-Apr-17 08:59:51

If it doesn't touch the extension, then you may well be okay. There's a good document entitled "a Technical Guidance for Householders" if you look under permitted development on the gov.uk website. That should answer most of your questions. You can apply for a CLD (certificate of lawful development) retrospectively for a small fee which should satisfy a solicitor.

NataliaOsipova Sat 01-Apr-17 09:02:06

The problem is that irregardless of PD rules, if it would result in the house being 50% bigger than as it stood in 1948 (or something like that), or from its original construction then yes it would need planning permission.

I think the 50% under the new rules applies to the area of the Curtis age it covers, not the increase in size of the house?

NataliaOsipova Sat 01-Apr-17 09:02:49

Curtis age???? Meant curtailage!

Shadowboy Sat 01-Apr-17 09:18:00

It doesn't touch the previous extension. It obviously meets all criteria bar one area which is ambiguous. Because the previous extension is more than half the width of the original house. There is no mention of what implication that has. I even have an email from the planning officer way back when the plans were being made that she states they appear to fit within PD but that the email is an informal discussion not a formal planning decision. So both architects and planning office think it's within PD rights. Solicitor does not.

heffalumpshavewrinkles Sat 01-Apr-17 09:27:59

I thought with new builds you exchanged early but they give you a long time to complete- would that be a possible option for you if you spoke to the developers? Plus speak to the planning department and hopefully they can formally confirm it doesn't need planning. What a nightmare situation for you sad I have to say that if this solicitor has picked up on it they probably all will, so if you need to get retrospective planning I'd just get on and do it...

Pooka Sat 01-Apr-17 10:11:30

I feel your pain - my mother was selling my deceased aunts house recently. Had an extension for which planning permission had been granted 12 years ago. The buyer's solicitor apparently drove by and he took the view that what had been built had windows and a door transposed and tried to advise the buyer to pull out. The buyer's solicitor is not a qualified planner, nor a planning solicitor. And seemed to be unaware of the 4 year rule for exemption from enforcement. And was wrong about the plans (there had been agreed amendment).

I'd take the view that the previous extension, having been granted planning permission, should not subsequently impact on your permitted development rights (as amended by revised provisions when the GPDO was altered). Unless there was a condition on the decision notice/permission that removed your PD rights thereafter, which would be unlikely but not unheard of. But my view doesn't help you - since their solicitor has the view that his interpretation overrides the informal/without prejudice planning officer view you already sought and that of your architect.

That's why the suggestion of getting legal advice from an actual expert planning solicitor may be worthwhile, if you get the view from their solicitor that this would be adequate.

The fees for a retrospective planning application and an LDC for an existing development should be the same I think. Could possibly be dealt with in about 5/6 weeks depending on the local planning authority's internal processes but not much help.

I don't understand why an indemnity could not be purchased to cover the 3 years until the extension is exempt from planning enforcement.

Shadowboy Sat 01-Apr-17 11:14:46

Basically, we finished the build on Feb last year- we have the final build bill and email from builder. BUT my husband didn't get the building regulations inspector out until January this year as we weren't expecting to sell up. So their solicitor thinks we can't get indemnity because the build completion is less than 12 months even though in reality it's 14 months old.

SnowGlobes Sat 01-Apr-17 13:53:20

dancing queen the 50% rule now applies only to the curtilage of the property (i.e. The land etc). Not 50% of original house anymore. natalia is definitely correct with this.
pooka's 2nd paragraph is spot on. The fact that you have an informal email from planning saying it's with PD may help you expediate either retrospective planning approval or certificate of permitted development.
Is the solicitor 100% clear which extension is PD and which has planning permissionas he may be thinking the extension that's more than half width is PD, which wouldn't be permitted, rather than it being covered by planning permission. It may be worth double checking that they are looking at the correct extensions.
I still don't understand why indemnity is impossible regardless that it's within your 12 months - surely you would waiver the remainder of the warranty in favour of the indemnity. Not done it so don't know but surely this can be done - again, maybe worth speaking with a planning solicitor.

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