6mt full width extn. ridiculousness - again

In my case, all I wanted was a nice straightforward 6m ground floor extension (I was going to do a loft conversion to gain the extra bedroom we needed) it would have been well below the maximum eaves height allowed and set in from the boundary and as the land rises up at the back of the houses by the time you got to 6m it would have been barely visible above a 6 foot fence, and 90% obscured by that big green bush in nextdoors garden (just to the left of the downpipe). Unfortunately, my neighbour, after umming and arring, objected and it was just blank refused (this was in the early stages of the scheme - I believe now it's slightly different as you pay a fee and get a bit of planning "input" if objections are received - ie they'll tell you what to change to make it acceptable).

So I had to fall back to a planning application (so I added the first floor bit as well), it was my idea to cut the corner off (it made it sort of meet the 45° rule) - the (same) planning officer said it was very large but said if I reduced the eaves height on the neighbours side to 2m (the same as a fence would be allowed), he would approve it). This was a bit of a compromise but I pushed it right out to the boundary and although it is low inside I've vaulted the ceiling and because the whole extension is massive (the back wall of the original house is coming out as well) it looks fine.


If I were you I'd forget the PN, it's not applicable in your case and life's too short. Submit a planning application with some regard to eaves height and distance from boundary/step in; regarding the depth, I failed to find my local authority guidance on this, the only thing I did find was an old refusal on a house down the road for either 4 or 4.5m. However, things seem to have changed recently (along with the type of owner of many of the houses) and we are now in the era of monster extensions that make mine look tiny! This ex 3 bed semi up the road now has 3 floors, 6 or 7 bedrooms, 3 receptions and 4 bathrooms!


Personally I think that 3.5m is ridiculous these days, when others with flat walls and friendly neighbours are allowed 6m - but I don't know whether this constitutes grounds for appeal (people suggest they take no notice of what so and so next door has been allowed), but I can't see that you have much to lose.
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When does an insignificant projection become a significant restriction?
Restriction, in that an insignificant projection restricts your abiility to claim a PD right for a full width, it seems even a 300mm projection restricts one ... which seems a ridiculour restriction ...

I will go see what case Law on this specific point argues ...

@cdbe thanks for all info, interesting, umm, I think with my projection I am stuck at a Full Plans, I will go see if the council are granting anything longer than 3.5 mts, which I have found in there design guidance.
Its interesting to see how the Officer helped you mitigate the visual impact by reducing the eaves height on the nieghbours side, who's idea was it for the pitched roof, that also appears to help mitigate any 'overbearing' ... in my mind anyway, and you also did the first floor in the same App ? ... what did your neighbour say when it was all up.
Thats a wide 1st floor extension on your neighbours !
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No answers to offer really. Just an experience. Wanted a 5M deep extension accross the full width back of our semi approx 6.5M wide.

Tried the PN route with the "relaxed" requirements with out local council around 2016... Attached neighbours objected. Council agreed even though neighbours were out already 2.5M from original elevation. So we were only going 2.5M beyond them and what they had already built that far beyond our rear building line on the boundary.

As co-incidence would have it, we also had a 1980s two storey gable end extension covering 2.5M of the other side of the rear elevation. So the single storey extension was going to be L shaped, because of the the existing two storey gable extension (approx 2M x 2.5M).

Council didn't pick up on that aspect ironically in 2 PN apps, first rejection incorrectly sighted the height of the parapet wall as not complying with the 3M roof height The flat roof was 2.65M,, and then sighted the over bearing criteria rejection.

After our designer had some discussion with the council, we brought the extension back to 4.85M deep and shaved 0.3M at the boundary and used a false hip pitch roof under PN. Neighbour still objected, council still sided and rejected under the overbearing provision.

In the end, I submitted a full plans 3rd app (because a private planning consultant I spoke to said it technically didn't come under the PD rights) because of the existing rear extension on the rear elevation. I,e. the OP issue.

It was rejected by council in full plans on exactly the same grounds - overbearing, and we appealed full plans and it was allowed on appeal. Wish we had of cut out the difficulty and delay and frustration trying to give the council what they thought they wanted but actually didn't know what they wanted.

Since then, the neighbour of course had to build an extension the same as ours but just a little bit deeper, which the council approved first time.
@GoodDIYjob thanks for the history, so the council rejected all the PN's, did you acheive the 4.85mt depth under the full plans appeal ? and with the 0.3mt inset ?
Do you know what depth of rear extension your council allow by Policy - under a Full Plans.
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@GoodDIYjob thanks for the history, so the council rejected all the PN's, did you acheive the 4.85mt depth under the full plans appeal ? and with the 0.3mt inset ?
Do you know what depth of rear extension your council allow by Policy - under a Full Plans.
Yes, 4.85M depth. Full plans. On appeal. We should of just filed full plans on 5M and appealed. It was not worth continuing to attempted to appease the council as they didn't actually know what they wanted and had sent us on 2 revisions to appease what they wanted but still refused.

The one thing I did take away from the planning consultant I spoke to before lodging the appeal is it would of been silly for us to appeal on the PN application as there was some doubt it technically fitted the PD, rules even though the council had not spotted or raised that aspect.

What could conceivably have happened is that you get an inspectorate appeal officer to consider your case and even if he / she agreed with your application being acceptable under amenity and general planning guidance, it could well be refused on the basis it did not fit the technical PD rules which are seen as black and white and they could not ignore...... In which case, it would of just delayed further to resubmit a full plans application, council refuse again, in order to allow us to appeal the full plans app. As it was we had already been through 2 refused PN applications!

Our council has SPD guidance but it is pretty general. Only really talks about the 45 degree rule in specifics of rear extensions and general overbearing, privacy and loss of amenity concepts.
@GoodDIYjob thanks for the info, all interesting stuff.

My Council state a 3.5mt rear extn is acceptable, but you can have any number of pointless thin extensions that are less than half the width of the original house, this one gained 3 of them under PN PD, if no one complained, you can guess what they will be doing with the daft gap ... I'm not sure why they didn't use 'half the width' of the house including the 'garage' (see my note below) and have just two larger extensions with a daft gap. Maybe they had lost the Will - it took them 3 apps in all to get here ...

3x thin extn.JPG

The bottom two thin extensions went in as one PN PD app. which was approved (ie approval not req.) the top one was then submitted, again as one PN PD app. and again approved, what is interesting is the top Extn. appears to be on a new side extension, however that is an existing garage that runs the length of the flank wall, how they proved that was original I am not sure (ie pre 1948), which is to be demolished nd rebuilt with cavity walls.
I am considering submitting a PN PD for less than half the width @ 6mt, built on the side of the house thats away from the neighbours side (left) who will definately make a lot of noise and complain, I may have to cut it back to say 5mt (which is what planners seem to want happen where there are objections), that will establish at least the projection and a depth to come off - if approved then apply under Full Plans for the other side at 5.00mt, again I may have to pull that back to 4 or even 3.5mt (3.5mt being what they approve under full plans), and if necessary vault the roof on the adjoining neighbours side, to bring the eaves down to 3mt. this will all hopefully avoid having to go the route of two thin extensions.

I'll ask the council, see what they say ...

House stepped cropped.jpg

@functor asks:
Why would they allow such "silly" options yet refuse to give you proper planning permission?

@tony1851 replies:
They know it's ridiculous, and you know it's ridiculous, but they are in the position of power because they are the bureaucracy.
Unfortunately, many planners enjoy their little power trip of dictating to people what they can and can't do; they enjoy making clients spend money, and enjoy putting obstacles in people's way. It makes them feel important.
(Not being cynical, but just speaking from experience).
Sometimes it helps to put in a LDC or Prior Notification to max out your PD limits just to establish what you could build, like the 3 skinny extensions.

You then go back with a planning application with what you actually want to build and as long it is no larger than what you could build under PD the planners can struggle to justify rejection. But even if they do reject you have a good case to go to appeal. I use this technique quite often, it is all about playing the game.

As per the comment quoted above from Tony. The junior planners who deal with small domestic applications can be pedantic bureaucratic little so and so's who make our lives as designers considerably harder than it needs to be. And yet sometimes they let the most outrageous schemes go through without batting an eyelid, I can't think why that might be?

Those plans are a long road to something that is quite bizarre with the gaps in rear elevation! What a pain. Like a part finished jenga game..

This is what we had approved on appeal. (Declined by council).

False pitch permitier hipped roof, flat roof inside. 4.85M. Original PN was parapet walls and flat roof, 5M depth of original elevations, on boundary line, zero projection eccentric foundation. There was another PN before full plans, that was someway between final plans appeal and original PN. I can't quite remember off top of my head.

Plans final.jpg
@GoodDIYjob - thats a Good job, but was it a DIY job, how long did it take you ?
I see you didn't go right up to the party line with the wall, any reason ?

goodjob DIY.JPG

Out of interest, how long did your appeal take.


So going on the staged PN PD then Full Plans approach, we get this:

House stepped cropped 2x extn.jpg

Assuming the council will require some consession for the objecting neighbour under the PN PD, I would expect to have to reduce the depth of either one or both of the thin extensions by approx 1mt to get the PD approval. And then appply under Full Plans to infill. And possibly somewhere in there the False Pitched roof along the Party Line.

This type of Planning 'Sillyness' and 'Ridiculousness' makes me wonder how we ended up being able to put on Full Hip to Gable (read full width) Loft Extensions, which from my understanding - that particular PD was never intended to allow, overbearing, overshadowing and overlooking our pleasant back gardens, yet they are everywhere now.

Guess I will find out how silly it will get.
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@GoodDIYjob - thats a Good job, but was it a DIY job, how long did it take you ?
I see you didn't go right up to the party line with the wall, any reason ?

View attachment 295112

Out of interest, how long did your appeal take.


This type of Planning 'Sillyness' and 'Ridiculousness' makes me wonder how we ended up being able to put on Full Hip to Gable (read full width) Loft Extensions, which from my understanding - that particular PD was never intended to allow, overbearing, overshadowing and overlooking our pleasant back gardens, yet they are everywhere now.

Guess I will find out how sily it will get.
Our journey started in 2015 and crossed 2016, so wait times may well not be reflective of now. From recollection, the planning inspectorate give current indicative appeal wait times on their website.

In our case, from having our 3rd application declined, it was about 6 months for the inspectorate to complete the referred appeal.

With all the messing around with the other 2 applications and council decision on the final app, it was well over a year end to end.

But all this was well before covid 19 and staff shortages which have brought council planning departments to a standstill and I know one or two people who have waited nearly a year for a single council application decision. A lot will depend on how your council is currently resourced and turning things around.

The boundary step in was required 1. In moving from parapet to false pitched hip roof in final application - there was a overhang for soffit and gutter required and 2. It resolved a small breach of the 45 degree as the neighbouring extension was also very close to boundary, with a wide patio door and very little brickwork before the corner. In fact their property also had another large window on the rear elevation beyond the patio doors assessed for 45 degree rule.

You'll notice our neighbouring property have a "small" dormer on the back of their property which involved a hip to Gable, change of plain tile colour.... and of course isn't overbearing at all. Clearly that sort of outcome wasn't properly contemplated. It's also distorted all the semi front elevation now as it's not balanced any more and the hip roof between properties gives so much more feeling of space and light from a streets cape perspective.

Ha ha. I did a bit yeah. After falling out with the builder who did the structure.

I dealt with his list of snagging for a month or 6 weeks, which was pretty substantial. I did the outside hard landscaping you see, shade Sail. I engaged final finish contractors and a carpenter including resolving all the bits that were so crap, they had to be dealt with rather than moving forward to finishes. I did all the bits that weren't someone else's job and seemed to fall between the cracks.. i recut window boards and got a plasterer to straighten up reveals. I did av wiring, cat 6 and wireless access point pre wire etc etc..
Umm, I wonder if the planning inspectorate publish a 'current waiting time' web page. I understand its roughly 3-6 months.

I would like to think it wont come to an appeal, but with that in mind I have found exactly the scenario discussed above - Approved by the council, PN PD App as 2x thin extensions - Approved, then a Full Plans to Infill - Approved, only difference there weren't any objections, where as my neighbour on one side will definately object.
My understanding is that it takes just one side (neighbour) to object, then the council need to judge the 'whole' using what ever criteria they are required to use.
An alternative I am also working on, is looking at the Appeal Cases for small projections, see if I couldn't convince my council to approve a full width with the small 600mm projection - with a PN PD to start, and avoid the extra Full Plans to infill ... at least if I have to appeal that takes out one chunk of wasted time.

Its like a game of chess ! all whilst I get get one step nearer to the grave ...

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