Development plays a major role in real estate, varying from something as small as a single storey extension, to as large as a new build property. However small or big, a vital criterion that must be complied with is Planning Permission.
It is important to know whether the works that you are looking to carry out require planning permission from your local council. The main legislation surrounding planning permission is the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (‘TCPA 1990’), where it states that planning permission is required for the ‘carrying out of any development on land’ (s57(1) TCPA 1990).
When would I need permission?
Examples of the common types of work which require planning permission are as follows:
- Extensions (single storey or multi-storey) – certain conditions and limits exist that will allow the development to take place without the need for planning permission. It is important to check whether your proposed extension is exempt from planning permission or not.
- Conservatory – this is treated like any other extension and is also subject to certain conditions and limits to what is allowed without the need for planning. Again, you should check this with your local planning authority (‘LPA’).
- Change of use of buildings or land – this is important for commercial developments and buildings. You may need planning permission to change from one use class to another. For example, you will need planning permission to change the current use of the building from a retail use (Class A1) to a hotel (Class C1). However, there are certain exceptions. Failing to obtain the permission can impact on your business significantly, and you may incur substantial fines. You may even need to removal or alter the unlawful change of use.
- Dropped kerb – in some cases, planning is required as it must be built to specific standards and approved by your local council.
- New builds – developing a building from scratch on a piece of land will require various planning permission. The local authorities will consider factors such as locality, safety, neighbouring properties and distance from highways.
Types of applications
There are two types of planning applications:
- Outline planning permission – seeks to establish whether the scale and nature of the proposed development is acceptable. If the consent is granted, approval of reserved matters, such as access, appearance, layout etc, must be obtained before proceeding with the works.
- Full or detailed planning application – this includes all the details required to carry out the development works once the planning permission has been granted. This planning permission may be granted subject to numerous conditions, which must be complied with.
Importance of planning permission
When development is carried out without the necessary permission, the LPA must decide whether to take an enforcement action or not. This decision is left to the LPA’s discretionary but must consider whether the breach affects public amenity or the existing use of land, public interests and personal circumstances such as health, welfare and human rights. In such events, you may be able to appeal the notice. Failure to comply with the notice is a criminal offence and you can be liable to pay an unlimited fine. Alternatively, the LPA may issue a Stop Notice which stops almost immediately the works being carried out and there is no right to appeal.
There are occasions where a retrospective permission may be provided for works that have already completed. This applies to developments that are carried out without planning permission, in accordance with planning permission granted for a limited period or without complying with a condition of a planning permission. However, it is always recommended that you should seek prior approval when carrying out development, as you risk being in breach of conditions and your works may be require destruction.
Therefore, whether you are buying or selling property, you must ensure that the necessary permission has been obtained for the works that have been carried out or for future works intended to be carried out.
Our Residential Property Team in Eastbourne, Brighton, Uckfield and Notting Hill are fully aware of the importance of planning permissions and we are thorough in our enquiries to ensure that you do not face any consequences.
Contact Us for an initial no-obligation discussion