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What’s the point of permitted development when we need a lawful development certificate to sell?





Architect Extension Plans

Just to clear up any misconceptions you might have with regard to who you should call first when planning an extension, I can tell you with confidence that it should be the architect. There was a time you could have called the local builders and they would have sketched out a few ideas for you as it was a relatively simple process to get planning for an extension.

However, times have changed and you now really do need to know what you’re doing if you want to get planning approval for your build. Every planning application submitted now has to have a  boundary plan and a street plan and I don’t mean one you can knock up yourself but one you have to buy from an approved source and place it into your plan. You also have to write a design and access statement and if you live in London then you will probably need a Thames Water Plan; how I miss the old days...

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Many homeowners also mistakenly believe that they don’t need architect plans because their proposed extension falls within permitted development. The fact is that you may not need a planning application but you will need a comprehensive set of drawings for the local building control department in order that you get building regulations approval.

All extensions and large refurbishments, regardless of whether they come under planning or permitted development, will require technical drawings for the proposed works. These drawings have to be examined by the building control department to ensure that the build meets with the current building regulations. In many cases the drawings fail because they don’t have enough detail or fail to argue persuasively with regard to energy savings and have to be amended and resubmitted before getting final approval.

Does My Extension Need Planning Permission?

Despite all the efforts of the government and the planning authorities many homeowners still don’t have a clue as to whether their extension requires planning permission. The problem is that regardless of who tells you that it’s fine and that your proposed build will comes under permitted development, how can you be sure?

Planning Permission2In principal the idea of been allowed to extend without the need for a planning application is a good one but the way the law stands at present there is no one available to categorically state that your proposals do come under permitted development. You can try writing to your local planning department to find out but they will need plans in order to reach a conclusion. This of course goes against the grain as you now have to instruct architects and commission plans just to get a confirmation that your build comes under permitted development.

Sadly, it gets worse. We’ve tried countless times to get local planning departments to give a confirmation after sending a summary of the project along with the plans only to be told that “It looks like it comes under permitted development.” or “That it should come under permitted development.” but no final confirmation.

When pressed on the subject we are told that the only way we can get a categorical answer to the question is to make an application for a Lawful Development Certificate.

If you do happen to extend your property without a planning application, believing that your build falls within the permitted development guidelines then you could be in for a shock when you go to sell as it is a guaranteed fact that the buyers solicitors will ask for a lawful development certificate for any extension. So my question is, what’s the point of telling us that we can build under permitted development when we still need a lawful development certificate when we go to sell?

What Is A Lawful Development Certificate?

Homeowners that extend their properties under the existing permitted development regime can never be entirely sure Lawful Development Certificatethat their build meets the guidelines. Regardless of how much they believe that their build does in fact fall within the regulations they only way they can make certain is to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Problems also come to light should you attempt to sell a property that has been extended without planning as the buyers solicitor will almost certainly ask for a confirmation of lawful development and the only way you can provide it is by then making an application for an LCC which will most certainly delay any sale as you will have to instruct an architect to prepare plans and then to make an application which will probably take another 4 to 6 weeks.

I’m of the opinion that you would probably be better off to submit a planning application right from the outset and that way you would get all the documentation you need right right at the start. You may think you’re saving money by going the permitted development route but what’s the point when you still need a LDC to show that your build is legal. To add insult to injury the LDC application currently costs 195 which is more or less the same price as a full planning application.


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