A guide to the planning process - Newsletter

When you are looking to extend or build a new home, gaining planning permission is a key step in the process. Here are our recommendations to making the process as smooth and successful as possible.

  • FIND A GOOD ARCHITECT - Ideally, find someone who has worked in your area. The planning process is there to permit development not to stop it, but illustrating an understanding of setting in the design is key. The design doesn’t have to be traditional, it can be contemporary, but it must relate to its context. Be prepared to work with a local planning consultant for particularly challenging sites.
  • RESEARCH LOCAL POLICY - Make sure your architect refers in the design statement to local planning policy and relevant Supplementary Design Documents which are all available on the council’s website.
  • GET PRE APPLICATION ADVICE - Some councils offer meetings for free but it is becoming more commonplace to have to apply and pay for this advice. Check the Council’s planning section of their website as each council is different. This can save time by ensuring your proposal is on the right track and will highlight which planning policies are key to your application.

  • SKETCHES, VISUALISATIONS, MODELS - It sounds obvious but provide detailed, clear, contextual drawings along with a design statement and photos of the site. Visualisations of the design in context can also really help, as can taking a model to the planning officer’s site visit.
  • PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT - Explore what can be done under Permitted Development. It may be that you can achieve more this way or by combining two applications for planning and a second for permitted development to maximise the size of your home. There is a clear online guide and downloadable technical guide on the planning portal website.
  • INVOLVE YOUR NEIGHBOURS - Speak to your neighbours before you put in the application as they are less likely to appeal and therefore the application is more likely to be determined by the planning officer ‘designated powers’ that a committee vote.
  • APPEAL IF NECESSARY - If you feel really frustrated by the process you can appeal. Householder applications for appeal take ten weeks from registration and are free to apply.
  • ALLOW TIME - Be patient. Allow at least three months for a fairly straight forward application with pre-application advice. Allow for longer if you are looking at an ambitious scheme. Your dream home may take time to get planning but the small cost of the planning application and the time is worth it if you can add greater area and therefore value to your home.


If you have a building project and want to get in touch with us to see how we can help, please contact us at www.sophiebates.com/contact

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COPYRIGHT SOPHIE BATES ARCHITECTS. This article is a guide and it not advice. All projects are different.

Good luck with your build!