The 'battle' with the planning department

The 'battle' with the planning department image

Most people refurbish their homes at least once in their life. With the rising house prices, extending and optimising your existing home is increasingly a more attractive option. 

However, undertaking a refurbishment project would most likely be a new experience for you, and it can be daunting. Usually one of the first things on people’s mind is whether or not you will be allowed to make the extension or changes you desire. If you live in a period property, its age, its construction style (which is very different from modern) and the fact that it may be listed or in a conservation area are additional things to consider. Listing acknowledges the special historic and architectural characteristics of your property, and it applies to the whole building, never just the façade. 

National and Local Authority policies are constantly evolving, challenging clients and professionals alike. A lot of people seem to be geared up for an unnecessary ‘battle with the authorities’ as a result. In reality Planners and Conservation Officers are looking to balance your needs against the future of the building and the amenities of your neighbours. 

To resolve this conflict, you need the right team of advisors to support you. Ideally, your architect should be able to assess your growing needs, as well as the needs of the building you live in. On our projects, we advocate treating the building as a second client. Understanding its history, its repair needs, how it functions, and how this could be improved is key, along with marrying your needs with those of the building into a design that complies with planning laws, conservation areas and conservation principles.  In addition, the design will ensure that the long term sustainability ties in with the aims of the Planning Authorities. 

Sarah will be running complimentary one-to-one advice clinics during the Festival.