Category Archives: News

Oh No I Don’t have Planning Permission!

Northern Insight Magazine have published our latest article on the perils of selling a house without planning permission in place for works carried out and what options are available.

The removal van was booked and champagne on ice ready to celebrate the start of a new chapter. It therefore came as a bit of a surprise to a client that planning permission was required for historic works carried out at their property and that this could potentially scupper their house sale.

As background, I was contacted recently by someone in the final stages of selling their home, after they were requested to provide proof that they had (or didn’t need) planning permission for works they carried out. They approached their Local Planning Authority (LPA) who convinced them to submit a pre-application enquiry, then after several weeks were told planning permission was required and that they MUST apply for retrospective planning permission or a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development (CLEUD). Naturally they were anxious and confused.

In this case the works had been carried out 14 years ago and whilst having the relevant paperwork in place is preferred, there are a few things to keep in mind. The salient point is the length of time the works had been completed.

In most cases an authorised development becomes immune from enforcement action if no action is taken:
• Within 4 years of substantial completion for a breach of control consisting of operational development, i.e. building works;
• Within 4 years for an authorised change of use to a single dwelling;
• Within 10 years for any other breach of planning control (essentially other change of use).

If a development has been carried out in excess of the above timeframes anyone can apply for a CLEUD which seeks to prove that the development or use has existed for the required period of time. The onus lies with the applicant to provide precise and unambiguous proof, if the LPA have no evidence to the contrary and the balance of probabilities lies with the applicant the LPA will grant a certificate.

The Council cannot however require someone to apply for a CLEUD and if you have evidence to support the length of time a development has existed enforcement action will not be taken by the LPA just because you haven’t applied for a CLEUD. A CLEUD is the formal legal document to confirm the development needed permission, but it’s over the timescale for enforcement and therefore now considered lawful. The process can take as long as a planning application to determine and requires the same planning fee as a new proposal.

There is another option if you’ve carried out works but have not exceeded the ‘immunity’ timescales above, retrospective planning permission can be applied for, however just because your extension maybe build doesn’t mean it will automatically be granted. The LPA will consider the merits of the scheme and if it doesn’t comply with National or Local guidelines/policy then it can be refused.

In terms of a house sale there maybe other ways to progress without going through the CLEUD or retrospective planning application routes, for instance, I know of cases where an Indemnity Insurance to cover the works has been sufficient to allow a sale to complete. This is generally in cases where the works exceed the ‘immunity’ timescales and therefore enforcement action will not be progressed by the LPA.

I’m in no way advocating development without the relevant consents as it can become a lot more complicated than the example I’ve used. It’s not illegal to carried out development without the relevant consents (unless it’s a Listed Building) and scenarios such as this happen regularly so if you find yourself in a situation like this consider your options.

Our Enforcement eBook has further information on potential consequences of unauthorised development and our series of eBooks have more information on Town Planning…The Basics topics

Options for selling a house without planning permission
Oh No I Don’t Have Planning Permission!

Town Planning…The Basics

There’s a lot of advice out there regarding Town Planning, thousands of pages dedicated to what can be perceived as red tape but with a lot of jargon and confusing details in general they don’t tend to cover what you need to know in simple basic terms.

Planning House strive to provide valuable information in order for people to be better informed about the planning process without being bogged down by unnecessary waffle.

Town Planning is not rocket science, to help you know the basics of town planning, Planning House have prepared 8 eBooklets covering just that, the basics. If you want to look further into a particular topic more information can be found online very easily. These resources have been prepared as an easy read starting point, free of charge, no email collection before you can download and no sign up to a newsletter – no strings attached!  All you need to do is click the eBooklet and read it, the current series is:

1 WHAT IS TOWN PLANNING?
Covering the need for town planning, the system, what town planners do and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), this eBooklet is a very light touch overview of planning.

2 APPLICATION PROCESS
Designed to give you the basics of pre-application engagement, planning fees, types of application, how to apply for planning permission, who makes the decision, the process, validation requirements, and material planning considerations. This eBooklet provides you with enough knowledge to assist you through the planning process if your proposal is not complex.

3 PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT & USE CLASS
If you’re looking to extend or improve your home or change the use of a building it pays to understand the scope of permitted development rights. Covering potential permitted development rights you may have, including those for converting buildings i.e. barns into homes without the need for planning permission. However, as with all things about town planning it can be a complex topic, these rights can be removed, or there may be another process (prior approval) which you may need to go through in order to benefit from these rights.

4 SELF BUILDERS
This eBooklet is aimed at those who are proposing to embark on a self-build journey, covering the application process but also planning myths, the hidden costs of planning and steps to choosing a town planner, it’s a useful starting point.

5 APPEALS
There’s a right of appeal not just against the refusal of a planning application but also against non-determination of an application or against conditions attached to an approval. Covering who makes the decision, what to submit, appeal types and process, award of costs and disagreement with a decision this eBooklet helps you be more aware of the time and resources needed for an appeal.

6 ENFORCEMENT
Covering what is a breach of planning control, enforcement time limits, non-compliance, the range of methods used to tackle a breach and types of enforcement notice this eBooklet stresses the importance of early intervention.

7 CIL & s106
There are some hidden costs of planning which you may not be aware of, if you’re liable to pay CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) or propose a development which may trigger the need for additional works or financial contribution (via s106 Agreement) it’s better to be informed about what the implications of both are.

8 DEVELOPMENT PLANS
Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan, knowing what plans are in place and how they are developed will assist in progressing any planning proposal.

More topics are proposed to be added to the series in order to assist you in any potential development project, however if you need support or advice Planning House are here to help.

The basics of Town Planning
A series of Free eBooklets covering the basics of Town Planning

Change of Use Planning Success

Planning Permission secured for the change of use of existing ground floor retail unit (A1) to 2 no. units comprising hot food takeaway unit (A5) and retail unit (A1).

The proposal will utilise an existing vacant unit within West Cornforth, in the main local centre within the village.   The proposal will bring back into productive use a vacant unit, retaining an A1 element, and introduce a new A5 unit.  It was considered that the scheme would not have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the local centre, and the benefits of an occupied unit far outweigh the continuation of a vacant unit.

Edward Vaudin led on this application reference: DM/18/02473/FPA

How do I change the use of a premises to hot food takeaway
Planning Success at West Cornforth

Planning Appeal Allowed in Co. Durham

Planning House in collaboration with Blake Hopkinson Architects have secured planning permission for up to 66 houses in Co. Durham.

The site lies in the open countryside, bounding the settlement of Esh Winning.  Issues in the appeal included:

  • Development in the countryside;
  • 5 year housing land supply;
  • Impact on the character and appearance of the area; and
  • s106 obligations.

Whilst Durham County Council submitted that they now have a 5 year housing land supply under the new method of calculation published in the NPPF 2018, the Planning Inspector  concluded that material considerations indicate that a decision should be taken contrary to the development plan and the very limited adverse impacts of granting permission would not significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the development.

Planning Appeal Allowed, full decision can be read HERE.

 

Planning Appeal Durham
66 houses approved in Co. Durham

Make way for the new NPPF

NPPF2
NPPF 2018

Since 2012 the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) became the proverbial Bible of the Planning system making it less complex and more accessible. It vastly simplified the number of policy pages about planning and along with the planning practice guidance (PPG) provided a much needed shake up of draconian planning process.

The revised NPPF  has been published this afternoon in a bid to once again shake up the development process, some of the main changes involve:

  • Changes to the definition of, and the presumption in favour of, sustainable development;
  • Removal of the section setting out the government’s core planning principles;
  • New duties for strategic plan-making, including addressing key strategic priorities;
  • New duty for planning authorities to prepare statements to document cross-boundary issues;
  • Amended wording for soundness tests underpinning plan examinations;  Including that a plan must be ‘an’ appropriate strategy – not ‘the most’ – which may have implications for those pushing for sites to be included in a Local Plan.
  • Introduction of new standard method for assessing local housing need.  This new method will come into force in late January, six months after the new NPPF’s publication.  However, the government said it will consider adjusting the methodology in order to meet its 300,000-homes-a-year target in light of the impending publication of new household growth projections that are likely to be lower than previous estimates.  It will “consult on the specific details” when the new projection figures are published in September.
  • Requirements for authorities relating to housing delivery, including small sites target. Councils must accommodate 10% of their housing requirement on small sites, as opposed to 20% of sites under the draft version;
  • Introduction of the housing delivery test to determine need for action plan and performance against homes requirement.  The test will measure the number of homes created against local housing need and penalise councils that underdeliver against various thresholds over a three-year period.  This includes applying the presumption in favour of sustainable development where delivery is below 75 per cent of the housing requirement from 2020.
  • LPAs to have to meet a tougher test to prove that their housing sites are deliverable;
  • The importance of design standards is emphasised.  The creation of high-quality buildings and places is ‘fundamental’ to what the planning and development process should achieve, the revised NPPF states. In particular, councils should try to “ensure that the quality of approved development is not materially diminished between permission and completion, as a result of changes being made to the permitted scheme.
  • Encouragement for LPAs to allow changes of use to housing and minimum density standards;
  • New rules for how LPAs should decide whether ‘exceptional circumstances’ exist for green belt changes;
  • The approach advocated in the written ministerial statement issued in 2016 on neighbourhood development plans is enshrined.  Paragraph 14 says that where the presumption in favour of sustainable development would otherwise apply in the absence of relevant or up-to-date plan policies, the adverse impact of allowing housing schemes that conflict with Neighbourhood Development Plans is likely to “significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits” where the plan was adopted two years or less before the decision, it contains policies and allocations to meet its identified housing requirement and the local planning authority has at least a three-year supply of deliverable housing sites against its five year requirement, including any appropriate buffer against under delivery.  In addition, the planning authority’s record must show that at least 45 per cent of homes required were delivered over the previous three years, the document says.

 

Planning House welcomes Ed Vaudin

Summer Internship
Ed Vaudin joins Planning House

Planning House welcomes Ed to the team on his internship.

Ed is an urban planning student at Newcastle University, working towards both a masters in planning and a certificate of planning practice.   Ed first gained a thorough interest in planning through studying human geography, overtime this interest has flourished into a passion.   With an eagerness to learn, Ed is determined to be a key part of innovate and ground-breaking developments to come.

News in Business Durham

Durham Planning Consultant
New Freelancer of the Year

ARTICLE IN BUSINESS DURHAM

Shining a spotlight on East Durham and the North East in general Chris Pipe NAMED National New Freelancer of the Year 2018.

The awards, the centrepiece of the tenth annual National Freelancers Day held at Kings Place, London, recognise excellence in freelancing. Sixteen finalists across three categories – Freelancer of the Year, Young Freelancer of the Year and New to Freelancing – were judged on the strength of their portfolio, passion and commitment to freelancing, business acumen and the creativity and distinctiveness of their offering.

Chris founded Planning House in 2016 and has a wealth of experience in the Town Planning industry, as former Head of Planning for a Council and UK Planning & Land Director for a large PLC property company she knows her way through the planning system from a unique perspective, which is why she labels herself as a ‘Gamekeeper turned Poacher’.

With a passion for town planning which began through seeing the decline of the coal mining community where Chris lived, evolved an amazing career built from a love of people and places and how they influence one another.

Chris Pipe said, “I am thrilled and honoured to receive this award, the calibre of other finalists was awe inspiring. I’m delighted to be recognised by this prestigious award and ecstatic to be flying the flag for North East businesses.

Chris launched Planning House in 2016 as an independent planning consultancy based in East Durham, services cover a wide range of planning matters, and specialises in residential development. Through her experience and by understanding client needs Chris ensures that the right approach is taken for each project.

The ethos behind Planning House is to provide no-nonsense, realistic support and advice for clients but with a personal service being at the core of the business.   For more information visit www.planninghouse.co.uk

ipse New to Freelance WINNER 2018

Chris Pipe Winner New Freelancers of the Year
ipse New to Freelance winner

Every year IPSE searches for the UK’s best independent professionals that represent the expertise and diversity of freelancing.

Winners were announced at an awards ceremony held on National Freelancers Day (28th June 2018) at Kings Place, London.  This year Chris Pipe, Director of Planning House was awarded National New Freelancer of the Year.

 

Permission secured for 3 Dwellings in Co. Durham

Planning House are pleased to announce outline planning consent has been secured for up to 3 new dwellings on land at The Moorings, Hett Hills, Chester-Le-Street.

The approved site is part of The Moorings hotel, bar and restaurant and is located between Pelton Fell and Craghead on the B6313.   The new dwellings are to be located on an area of land which is part of the Moorings hotel complex part of which is currently used as an overflow car park, accessed from The Moorings car park directly.

The site is 1.8km from services and outside the nearby settlement limits of Pelton Fell.   However it has been established that this is not an unreasonable walking and cycling distance along what is deemed as a practical route.  The site is considered sustainable and was supported by Durham County Council planners.

With Thanks to All About Trees and Roberts Environmental for their support in the application.

3 New Dwellings
Planning Success in County Durham

Grand Designs Live – Ask the Expert

Chris Pipe, Director of Planning House will be appearing at the London Grand Designs Live Event in May 2018.

You will be available to discuss your own grand design in free 30-minute consultations. Bring your plans and drawings to get the most out of your session. You can reserve your spot in advance via the Grand Designs Live website or on the day, on a first come first serve basis.