Our proven and effective 3 part process
These are the 3 steps we employ to get your planning application approved.
Collect Information / Research
We work with you closely to get the necessary information. We investigate local site constraints, relevant planning policies and local planning precedents.
Prepare Architectural Drawings
We visit the site and produce existing and proposed architectural drawings of the property according to client specification and council policies.
Submit Planning Permission Application
We prepare the planning documents and ensure the drawings comply with all planning considerations and then submit the application.
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See our FAQs
Selection of our most common queries.
Do I need Planning Permission?
Most developments will require the consent of the local council. You will either need Planning Permission or a certificate of lawfulness.
Some examples where planning permission is required:
- Most new building developments
- Additions or extensions to a flat or maisonette (including those converted from houses). (But you do not need planning permission to carry out internal alterations or work which does not affect the external appearance of the building.)
- Dividing part of your house for use as a separate home (for example, a self-contained flat or bed-sit) or use a caravan in your garden as a home for someone else. (But you do not need planning permission to let one or two of your rooms to lodgers.)
- Dividing off part of your home for business or commercial use (for example, a workshop) or you want to build a parking place for a commercial vehicle at your home.
- Building something which goes against the terms of the original planning permission for your house - for example, your house may have been built with a restriction to stop people putting up fences in front gardens because it is on an "open plan" estate. Your council has a record of all planning permissions in its area.
- Any work that might obstruct the view of road users.
- Any work that would involve a new or wider access to a trunk or classified road.
Planning permission is not generally required, for changes to the interior of buildings, or for small alterations to the outside e.g. the installation of telephone connections and alarm boxes. Exceptions may include buildings in a conservation area, a listed building or a building of heritage significance/importance.
Osborne Planning are here to help you with your development. We can clarify any doubts that you may have, establish the status of a building use or of a site use, and conduct a full feasibility study to establish the likelihood for a proposed development to be granted planning permission.
Factors affecting planning permission
There are several factors - dependent a lot on your local authority plan, which will affect whether or not you need to apply for planning permission. Some of these considerations include:
- Your neighbours
- Listed buildings
- Conservation areas
- Trees and hedgerows
- Nature and wildlife
- Building regulations
- Rights of way
- Adverts and signs
- Ancient monuments
- Environmental health
- Licensed sites
- Roads and highways
Osborne Planning will be able to advise you whether you need planning, and if so, offer to help produce a convincing and professional application for submission to the local council. Assuming that planning permission is not required, Osborne Planning will produce all the architectural drawings, existing and proposed to acquire a certificate of lawfulness from the local council so that building works can commence.
Is it possible to know if planning permission will be granted before a planning application is submitted?
Unfortunately it is not possible to predict an outcome of a planning application, but a professional planner can advise on the risks and opportunities, to increase your chances of success and understanding of the available development scenarios. This is where Osborne Planning come into the picture. Osborne Planning will not take on any project that has little or no chance of success, unless it is put in writing to the applicant/client, and the client wishes to proceed regardless.
There is no honest planning professional who can guarantee a successful outcome. Every planning officer in the planning department has his/her understanding of the planning regulations, policies and guidelines, and will interpret these differently than their colleagues. This fact is not always consistent with the way planning consultants work, and it is sometimes difficult to predict the outcome of an application.
The local council is aware of these issues, and has introduced a new facility for communication, which enables developers and members of the public to seek planning advice from the local planning department. It is usually free of charge for minor applications, such as extensions. Larger developments, such as change of usages, and conversions are subject to a fee. This consultation is called “Pre Application Advice” meeting. Osborne Planning's consultants have much experience dealing directly with the local council, liaising on planning issues, and negotiating financial agreements and contributions on behalf of our clients. There are occasions that we will find necessary to consult with the local council directly, and we will advise our client to attend a pre application advice meeting to establish the best route to pursue, and/ or the most likely proposal with the highest chance of success.
There is however a challenge - If you pay the council for a Pre Application Advice service, any advice that they offer you is not legally binding, and they do not need to consider this while assessing the application. Therefore you may be told that if you do something specific you will have a better chance to get planning permission, and eventually they will ignore their initial advice and refuse the application. It is frustrating and unfair, but this is the nature of the planning system in the UK.
Osborne Planning have much experience dealing with different types of applications, and depending on the nature of each project, would conduct a feasibility study or site appraisal to establish the pros and cons of each development. The result of this study would clarify the chances an application would have to be granted planning consent. The study would usually include an appraisal of the relevant planning policies, constraints, history and other material considerations. This is an alternative to the council's service, and is much quicker and transparent.
What types of extensions or conversions can I get planning for?
There are many types of extensions and conversions. 4D Planning consultants will offer you a free phone consultation or visit your house/building and advise you what the best extension type or conversion is suitable for you, and that will benefit you and your family the most within budget.
The most typical extensions in London are:
- Single storey extension at the rear of the property
- Single storey extension at the side of the property
- Loft conversion with dormer roof extension
- Hip to gable roof extenion
- Basement Extension
- Garage conversion
The most typical conversions in London are:
- Conversion of a house into flats
- Conversion of a house into HMOs / bedsits (house of multiple occupation)
- Conversion of offices into flats
- Changes of Use (A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, B2, B4, B8, C3, C4, C1, C2, D1, D2, Sui Generis)
- Garage Conversion to habitable room or self contained unit
What is Permitted Development?
Permitted Development entitles you to make different types of minor changes to your house (loft conversion, side extension, rear extension and a garage conversion) without the need to apply for planning permission. These rights were introduced by the government in the 1995 Town and Country Planning Act (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, but several amendments have been introduced and implemented over the years.
Permitted development rights usually apply to houses only, and do not include flats, maisonettes or other buildings. Houses in conservation areas and listed buildings are also not included.
Permitted Development Rights withdrawn
You should also note that the local planning authority may have removed some of your permitted development rights by issuing an Article 4 direction. This will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one. Article 4 directions are made when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas. You will probably know if your property is affected by such a direction, but you can check with the local planning authority if you are not sure.
Osborne Planning are able to advise you whether your proposed extension falls under Permitted Development and is "lawful" or whether you will need to apply for planning permission. If you are entitled to build under Permitted Development, then you will need to prepare an application to the local council for a “Certificate of Lawfulness” or a Certificate of Lawful Use. You will need a full set of scaled architectural drawings showing the existing property and the proposed layouts and changes to the property. Osborne Planning's consultants will prepare all the documentation and architectural drawings, all to scale, to meet all the requirements of the local Council.
If you want to be certain that the existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes or that your proposal does not require planning permission, you can apply for a 'Lawful Development Certificate' (LDC). For example if works were carried out to the property without planning permission, and you are thinking of selling your house in the future, it is best to obtain the LDC to ensure that the sale of the house runs smoothly and that the building works will not complicate the purchase/sale of the house. It is not compulsory to have an LDC but there are times when it is necessary to confirm that the use, operation or activity is considered "lawful" for planning control purposes. This also provides peace of mind to the property owner.
The Council charge £103 for a lawful development application for residential extensions and £462 for Change of Use applications and for creation of flats or an HMO.
A property might be in breach of planning but would be exempt from enforcement action if there is "Established Use". This would usually be the case if a property was extended without the benefit of planning permission or if the property was converted into separate units or any other type of development without prior approval from the Council. In this case, the applicant may apply for a Lawful Development Certificate from the Council on the basis that there is 4 years of evidence for residential extensions and conversions to flats, or 10 years for commercial and other uses.
What are Building Regulations? Is it needed for Planning?
Building Regulations promote high standards for construction and energy efficiency of buildings. It considers all types of people, including those with disabilities by requiring easy access in and around buildings. Building regulations are divided into 14 categories (parts), and are updated on a regular basis. These categories are: A - Structural safety, B - Fire Safety, C - Resistance to contaminants and moisture, D - Toxic Substances, E - Resistance to sound, F - Ventilation, G - Sanitation, Hot Water Safety and Water Efficiency, H - Drainage and waste disposal, J - Heat producing appliances, K - Protection from falling, L - Conservation of fuel and power, M - Access to and use of buildings, N - Glazing safety, P - Electrical safety Building Regulations are only required post planning, once planning permission is granted, or if the planning department confirm that planning permission if not required. For further information click here: https://www.osborneplanning.uk
What are the Building Use Classes?
The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) puts uses of land and buildings into various categories known as 'Use Classes'.
Retrospective Planning Permission
A Retrospective Planning Application is required for all developments which are in the process of being built, or are already built, and have not been granted planning permission. This application once planning permission is granted will legalise and regularise the development. Until planning permission is granted, the council can issue an enforcement notice to return the development into its former existence. This can be a costly and long experience, and it is strongly recommended that a home owner or developer apply for planning permission before carrying out building works. In the event that planning permission was not applied for, Osborne Planning are able to prepare a Retrospective Planning Application on your behalf, and help you get the required planning permission.
How much does it cost to submit an application to the local council?
The price of each application depends a lot on the application type, and the type of development. The usual charge is £172 for a regular residential planning application, £385 for a Change of Use, £385 per new dwelling, £86 for Lawful Development Applications and £110 for Advertisement Consent applications. Some applications will cost £195 and it will depend on the proposal.
How many types of planning applications are there?
There are 10 different types of planning permission applications: 1) Outline Application; 2) Approval of Reserved Matters; 3) Full Application; 4) Approval of Details; 5) Listed Building Consent; 6) Conservation Area Consent; 7) Advertisement Consent; 8) Certificate of Lawful Use or Development; 9) Minor Material Amendment; 10) Works to Trees
What is a Conservation Area?
Local authorities have the power (under Section 69 of the Planning [Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas] Act 1990) to designate as conservation areas, any area of special architectural or historic interest. This means the planning authority has extra powers to control works and demolition of buildings to protect or improve the character or appearance of the area.
What is a listed building?
A 'listed building' is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest and included on a special register, called the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Compiled by the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS), under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the list includes a wide variety of structures, from castles and cathedrals to milestones and village pumps.
What is Over-development?
In built up urban areas around London, plot sizes may be fairly small, so extending the house could seriously eat into the available garden space. The planners will therefore want be satisfied that your plans provide sufficient remaining amenity space; otherwise the project may be construed as ‘overdevelopment’. If this looks like it could be a problem, providing evidence of similar precedent in the local area, developments that have previously been approved (within 4 years) should help your case. Get in touch to discuss this with us: https://www.osborneplanning.uk/contact-us
What is Overlooking?
If the planners consider that your design could seriously compromise your neighbours’ privacy, it may well be sent back to the drawing board. It is for this reason that balconies, roof gardens, upstairs conservatories and side facing windows are often resisted. The trouble in London is, for most urban and suburban houses it can be difficult to come up with a design where the windows don’t in some way overlook a neighbour’s house or garden. One solution is to design the extension with fashionably low roof slopes so that the upstairs bedrooms are in affect ‘loft rooms’ with skylight windows that gaze harmlessly out into space. Another option is to use obscured glazing for bathrooms. It is still important to allow sunlight in while at the same time preventing the occupants from easily seeing out.