Planning permission is a crucial aspect of developing land or property in the UK, and a refusal of planning permission can be a significant setback. There are a variety of reasons why planning permission may be refused, and understanding these reasons can help ensure that future applications are better prepared and more likely to succeed. Here are the top 10 reasons for refusing planning permission and how to overcome them:
- Character and Appearance of an Area (Design): The design of a proposed development may be deemed unsuitable for the local area, or it may not meet the required standards for design and accessibility. How a proposal relates to a host building, plot or surrounding area is an important consideration and in our experience is a main reason for refusal of a proposed development. The proposed development may be considered overdevelopment of the site, or it may not fit in with the character of the local area. Look at the surrounding area in terms of scale, design, character or amount of space used on a plot? If your scheme would be out of keeping considers alternative design options that are less intrusive or demonstrate how the proposed development will not be overdevelopment of the site.
- Impact on heritage assets: The proposed development may have a negative impact on heritage assets, such as listed buildings or conservation areas. To mitigate the impact on heritage assets, consider alternative design options that are less intrusive, or work with a heritage consultant to develop a heritage statement that demonstrates the positive aspects of the proposed development. Heritage Statements are important to establish the significance of a heritage asset is and whether the development would affect it. Take a look at some of our practical guides covering heritage: A Practical Guide to Conservation Areas; A Practical Guide to Listed Buildings; and A Practical Guide to Heritage Statements.
- Effect on neighbouring properties: The proposed development may have an adverse impact on neighbouring properties, such as by affecting their privacy, light, or outlook. Careful consideration is required when formulating a proposed development, does it meet relevant separation distances? Would it impede the outlook of occupiers of a neighbouring property or would any windows provide views towards a neighbouring property? Even if windows overlook already would the proposed development exacerbate the situation? Could you provide mitigation measures such as screens or landscaping to reduce the impact on neighbouring properties?
- Lack of parking or highway safety: The proposed development may not provide sufficient parking, or it may not meet the required standards for access and circulation. Look at the Council’s standards for car parking, visibility and road layouts, consider sustainable mode of transport and whether cycle parking could be incorporated, consider providing additional parking, or demonstrate how the proposed development will not generate significant additional demand for parking. Highway safety is a fundamental issue and will be looked at closely, a Transport Consultant can help you if this is an issue for your site.
- Impact on ecology and the environment: The effect a development will have on ecology and the environment, such as by affecting protected species or habitats is a significant issue. To mitigate the impact on ecology and the environment, consider alternative design options that are less intrusive, or provide mitigation measures such as ecologically enhanced landscaping. Biodiversity Net Gain is a tool to use to increase biodiversity by creating or enhancing habitats in association with development and will be mandatory late 2023 for developments.
- Impact on Trees: Whilst not all trees are protected, any development which could have an effect on trees would be considered during a planning application. Trees which are not protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or those within a Conservation Area can in general be removed without consent. If they are not protected removing them can open up a site for development, however, on the negative side, the removal can upset neighbours and remove screening which could have benefitted your scheme.
- Insufficient information: The planning application may not provide sufficient information, or it may not address all the relevant planning considerations. Ensure that you provide sufficient information and address all the relevant planning considerations. Consider engaging a town planner or consultant to assist with the preparation of the planning application. Take a look at our articles Avoid Delays in Validating a Planning Application & When to Hire a Town Planner for further information.
- Non-compliance with planning policies: The proposed development may not comply with relevant planning policies, such as the local development plan or national planning policies. Check the Council’s policies and guidance as well as talk to the planning officer, Make an ally of your Planning Officer.
- Poor quality accommodation: Proposals for residential development should meet as a minimum the National Space Standards. This is to ensure adequate indoor and outside space is provided. When formulating a scheme developers are encouraged to look at the quality of homes delivered rather than purely quantity, make sure your scheme complies with this requirement if it doesn’t set out the reasons why, for instance it’s a Listed Building where alterations to rooms may damage the significance of the heritage asset.
- Lack of affordable housing or loss of a family home: The proposed development may not provide sufficient affordable housing, if you can’t provide on-site affordable homes in some instances you can make contributions for off-site affordable homes, this would generally be via a s106 agreement. Take a look at our eBook: CIL & s106 – which gives the basics on CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) and developments which may trigger the need for additional works or financial contribution (via s106 agreement). In London there is also a push for family homes not to be divided into smaller units in areas where there is a demonstrable need for family homes.
Understanding the top 10 reasons for refusing planning permission can help to ensure that future planning applications are well prepared and have a better chance of success. It is important to consider these reasons and ensure that all relevant planning considerations are addressed in the planning application.
Engaging a town planner or consultant can be a valuable investment, as they can help guide you through the process and increase your chances of success. Our Guide on How to Choose a Town Planner may help you.