Planning Permission And Annexes

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Annexes Are Fast Becoming The Most Popular Way To Add Value To Your Home And Solve Urgent Problems, But What About Planning?

 As our business has grown our week’s tend to be dominated by travelling to see our future customers and our current ones. We like to be as hands on as possible in the process and thankfully we have a fantastic team of installers who take our customers under their wings as it were and guide them through the ups and downs of constructing an annexe or home. (Construction is by it’s nature unpredictable)

But it all usually starts with the dreaded “P” word Planning Permission and as this is something we undertake for you on your behalf and as we get a lot of questions about it (and this is by no means a definitive answer to them all)  I thought I’d share some real life experience about dealing with planning permission + annexes right now all over the country

Feature Article:Planning Permission And Annexes

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Householder Planning Application Or Full Dwelling?

Here is surprise (and frustration #1) the answer is both! Some Local Planning Authorities think of annexes (especially mobile home annexes) as temporary buildings and “ancillary accommodation to the main house” others don’t!

There seems to be one set of planning laws that are completely open to the interpretation of each individual Local Planning Authority and even each individual planning officer at the LPA. (Local Planning Authority).

They are all different and even neighbouring LPA’s may be completely different, however certain criteria they all seem to agree on:-

  • Dependent relatives (a need).
  •  For family member use only.
  • Cannot be sold separately to the main house, hence an annexe.
  • The overall size should be fairly modest (one or two bedrooms at most).
  •   It is classed as a dwelling if someone is going to live in it.

The One That Got Away

We have only ever been refused planning permission for one annexe so far, the offending council was Horsham and it was one of those instances when the planning officer in question did not communicate , did not correspond, and used his delegated powers to recommend a refusal.

The annexe was for an 86-year-old gentleman who had lived in the house for over 40 years, his son had recently returned home after one of “life’s hurdles” got in the way and despite being the only house never to have even had an extension on the cul-de-sac it was refused planning permission.

We would have recommended going to appeal, however the animosity from the neighbour’s objections was so hurtful to our customer that we all decided that “walking on by” was the best thing to do.

*Planning permission is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

The Good, The Brilliant & The Exceptional

We have successfully built annexes and homes in :-

  • Oxfordshire
  • Essex
  • Kent
  • Merseyside
  • Cumbria
  • Herefordshire
  • Worcestershire
  • Shropshire
  • Somerset
  • Hampshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • North Wales
  • Powys
  • West Midlands
  • Warwickshire
  • Bedfordshire
  • Scotland
  • and more …

Local planning authorities are sometimes a bit of a postcode lottery but the approach has to be right in the first instance and preferably by a company (such as ourselves) to stand the best chance of being successful.

*There are no guarantees .. but we would never take on a planning application without the expectation of it succeeding based on our experience in the field and knowing what it is that “ticks boxes” at the LPA.

Positive Factors Where You Have The Best Chance Of Success

1. A dependent relative. If you are unlucky enough to experience Mum or Dad becoming disabled or suffering a stroke, heart attack or worse, and you are looking to provide the main carer role for an elderly relative then your Local Planning Authority is probably going to support the application based on a real need for accommodation for your family member.

2. Replacing an existing building. If there is an existing garage or outbuilding that you are replacing with an annexe planning will usually be granted for ancillary accommodation to the main house (an annexe) without problems.

3. Neighbours that are supportive. Notices will be posted about your planning application and your neighbours will be able to protest or object to your plans so it makes sense to make peace with your neighbours and help ease any concerns they have before your planning application goes in! Your LPA will dismiss a large amount of objections if they do not relate to loss of light or privacy but it is best practise to advise them about your plans and reassure then that it will not affect them in any way if at all possible.

4. Not a self-contained annexe. When you have a dependent relative living with you that is for example needing to have all main meals in the main house (not living indepedently) this may be viewed as something that requires no planning permission as it is not a self-contained dwelling when it does not have a kitchen. As with all planning issues you will need to check with your particular local planning authority first to make sure they agree. (Once again you will find some do and some don’t)

The All Important Design And Access Statement

One of the most valuable elements of your planning application is the design and access statement. This is a statement that we prepare on your behalf when we undertake the Planning Application part of your proposed annexe.

It is a “storyboard” tailored your specific situation that provides your LPA with a total overview of the annexe, it’s size, use, design and construction that will help them to determine quickly whether the application is straight forward or not.

In most cases annexes are straight forward and refusal thankfully is rare. The LPA’s are becoming increasingly aware that annexes for dependent relatives, young. middle-aged or elderly is fast becoming a necessity in modern-day life when the price of houses seems to be ever-increasing and not accessible to all.

To your self-building success.

Pete Cossie; CLL

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About The Author

Diane Cossie

Why@dianecossie? Diane Cossie is a UK based interior design & self-build enthusiast and pioneer for self-building in the UK. We are on a mission to inspire others to dream BIG and self-build their next home and to offer a new choice to the UK consumer (like the rest of the developed Western world) when it comes to their next house move. You can rent, you can buy or you can self-build!

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