Friday, 21 February 2014
Having established whether your proposed loft conversion required a full planning application, various considerations should be made. Please read our previous post on permitted development-PD rights- no planning application is required.
To be successful in obtaining permission the proposal should ideally be subservient to the property plus neighbouring properties and the general street scene should be considered. Most loft conversion dormers and gable would not pass a full planning application. This is due to their bulk, position and setting a precedent for neighbouring properties. Try to put your self in an un-biased position when considering what is appropriate.
Large flat room dormer boxes, great as they are for creating space, seldom sit that well in design terms on roofs. The same can be said for raised gables or hip-to-gable prevalent on 1930s semis. They remove the hip end feature of the roof and alter the appearance hugely. Also dormers that sit on the outside wall, either flat roof or a pitched roof design tend to have a large vertical surface. Most of these types of loft conversions and the conversion we carry-out have been carried out within PD rights. Now some people may say these types of construction are fine in designs terms. We carry out huge numbers of these conversions to our clients satisfaction but generally speaking they do not tick the full planning box.
As a general guide, keep the dormers set back into the roof, have pitched roofs that mirror existing roof pitches and if possible position dormers symmetrical to roof and windows below. Use materials to match existing designs and colours. Obviously that's a very sweeping statement and many factors can influence the final design, We will happily discuss options
that your property needs and how that relates to a planning application. This gallery shows all the different types of dormers that are possible.
The next step could be a worthwhile one. Create a pre-planning enquiry. This can be sent to the local planning office to get a feel of what the planners think of the proposal. Whist any reply should be taken as advice, it can give an indication of how an application will proceed. Ideally a scale drawing, floor plans and photographs should be include. We often chat to planners at length before any application is made to get a close feel what will be possible and be approved. On a note, planners do not consider any social issues you may have for the conversion, purely the design.
The application process itself is quite straight forward. Four sets of application forms, plans, design & access statements, site location maps, all of what we provide along with the relevant fee. All our application are emailed via the Planning Portal web site but can be sent direct to local planning office by email/post. Once application has been checked as complete it will be validated and a notice with various information posted/emailed to us acting as your agent.. Date council will work towards to issue a decision of eight weeks, case officer and reference number will also be included
The council will start making checks to see if their are any planing enforcements relating to the property such as conservation area, area of outstanding natural beauty etc. Also they will issue neighbour planning notifications to local properties that mat be effected as well as posting on their web site.
This allows time (21 days) for local residents to list any objections they may have. We strongly advise that in the early stages of design you think about your neighbours to the point of chatting to them. This means the notification comes as no surprise and they hopefully appreciate what you are trying to achieve. No local objections is always a bonus. On completion of the 21 days its over to the case officer. The mains thrust of the application is what does the planner think? You could rally neighbours for support and request letters of positive comments. This could all be in vain if the council considers it to be a poor design and they seek to protect the local street scene and amenities for future generations.
We normally touch base with the planners at this stage to see how things are progressing, etc. Sometimes material samples are requested and its a good to time discuss the proposal again. Maybe officer sees some minor changes that will help the application in being successful. The application can be tracked on line listing all the documents involved. At the end of the eight weeks, hopefully a successful decision will be granted. If not, then the planning inspectorate office offers and means in which the decision can be appealed. but that's a blog for another day..Good design will normally be approved.