5 Quick tips for planning permission approval

Talk to anyone with a building project in mind and they're certain to groan at the thought of submitting plans and chasing them through the system until approval is granted. It can be frustrating and time-consuming, and there's ultimately no guarantee that you'll be given the go-ahead. At Refresh, we've been through this process many times, so we've compiled several ways in which can improve the chances of having your projects signed off.

UK homes

Talk to any developer or DIY enthusiast who has a building project in mind and they’re certain to groan at the thought of submitting plans and chasing them through the system to the point where approval is granted. It can be frustrating and time-consuming, and there’s ultimately no guarantee that you’ll actually be given the go-ahead.
There are, however, several ways in which you can improve the chances of success with a planning permission application, and it’s worth ensuring that you have everything in your favour. The ultimate aim is of course to achieve an outcome that meets your expectations and requirements but also ticks all the boxes the planners will focus on.

1. Submitting your application

You can submit an application via the Planning Portal which provides step-by-step guidance on the process and allows you to save progress and return to the point you reached at a later date. It’s not essential to apply via the portal as you can download and print the forms in order to complete them offline, although it’s worth checking how many hard copies of each supporting document you’ll need to submit.

2. Pre-application advice

Before you start, however, we’d strongly recommend requesting pre-application advice from the local council as that can alleviate many of the common stumbling blocks encountered with planning permission. With pre-application advice, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with a planning officer for an informal discussion before you submit your application. Some local planning authorities charge for this service so it’s advisable to check first. Pre-application advice can help you identify the specific local requirements you need to meet, reduce the likelihood of submitting an invalid application and also give you a greater understanding of how planning policies and other requirements may affect your proposals. The more you engage the planning officers in your project, the greater your chances of achieving success with your application will be.

3. Filling out your application

When applying for planning permission you’ll need to describe the project you’re looking to undertake and it’s best to be succinct. You’ll also need to cover areas such as access and waste storage and collection. With access, the planners will be concerned about whether you’ll be creating a new driveway, for example, and on the waste side they’ll need to be confident that there’s sufficient space for bin storage. A key area of any application is the materials that you’re looking to use and in this case it’s best to provide as much detail as you possibly can. With an understanding of the type of walls, roofing, windows and doors that will be included the planners will be in the best possible position to grant approval.
Parking is another issue for planners, so they will want to know how many cars you will be looking to accommodate with your project. It’s advisable to double-check the council’s parking standards before submitting the application, as these will clarify how many parking spaces are required or allowed for each type of development. Foul water and sewage arrangements also feature highly on the planning agenda, so it’s helpful to confirm whether you will be connecting to mains drainage or a septic tank. In terms of foul drainage, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll be looking to connect to a public sewer, but this must be achievable without crossing a neighbour’s land. On the subject of environmental planning, the issues of the risk of flooding, according to the Environment Agency flood maps, and the treatment of surface water accumulation using a soakaway or other solution are paramount.
Biodiversity is another area that merits attention, in particular if there’s a suspicion that a protected species might reside on the site you’re seeking to develop. Should this prove to be the case a full survey will be required, as will a plan to outline how the species will be conserved. Conversions and renovations can involve dealing with bats, a site with a pond may be home to newts, while badgers and owls are also protected species. Finally, your development may involve the removal of trees and hedges, and planners will want to understand exactly how you’ll be addressing this issue, especially if a tree preservation order is in place.

4.  Plan before you buy

As Newton Fraser of Refresh Renovations observes, planning permission is a key consideration whether you’re buying a plot of land, purchasing a renovation property or simply seeking to upgrade your existing home. ‘As builders in Chesterfield, we’re conscious that our clients are looking at different types of project,’ says Newton. ‘If you’re considering purchasing a plot of land, for example, it’s vital to ensure that at least outline planning permission has been granted, even though this will inevitably mean that the land commands a higher price.

5. Renovating with Refresh

‘And if you’re looking to extend or renovate, it’s advisable to take the right advice to design and specify the project so that the planning process goes smoothly. Errors and omissions can be costly – both in time and money – and it’s easy to overlook important details. That’s why our clients turn to us for end-to-end project management – they understand that we can help create the design, recommend the most appropriate materials, guide them through planning and then execute the build. In addition, in North Nottinghamshire we’re blessed with a number of beautiful rural villages, many of which are within conservation areas. Obtaining planning permission in these areas can be extremely complex, so it’s advisable to work with us to make sure that every aspect is covered off before submitting an application.
‘In effect, we’re there to manage every aspect of the design and build wherever our clients are located, and whatever the challenges they face, in order to secure planning permission and complete the project on time and within budget.’

Get in touch

To discuss your new-build, extension or renovation, please get in touch today using the enquiry form listed alongside, or if you would like to submit a more comprehensive enquiry, you can do so on the Get In Touch page. For more information, feel free to check out our projects and testimonials.

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