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Advice please on appealing refused application for extension

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by jamboh77, 9 Sep 2016.

  1. jamboh77

    jamboh77

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    Hi all, am after a bit of advice if anyone has any knowledge experience in this area... I have just had my application for an extension to our house refused and am trying to work out my best course of action now.

    The process has already been a bit of a saga, starting at the beginning of the year and involving about 3 months worth of wranglings with an incompetent bat surveyor and having been told that I'll have to have archaeologists present when digging foundations! and now finally, after all that, the application has been refused!

    Our property is one of two rural semi-detached cottages, and is currently two bedroom. We are in green belt. The application is to extend to the side. Our immediate neighbour's property has been extended in the past to approx. 3 times it's original footprint (which would have been the same as ours is now). The next nearest property has also been extensively rebuilt about 10-15 years ago which involved an entire 2nd storey being added and a large double-garage-with-room-above being added as an outbuilding.

    The previous owners of our house applied to do an almost identical extension to the one we are proposing which was to build a side extension an put a conservatory out the back. The application was approved (this was in 2003, and it has since expired). In the end they did not do the extension but did put the conservatory on. Our application basically is to add the extension bit.

    Based on all of this I had assumed that the planning application was a bit of a formality as they had already approved an essentially identical application 10 odd years ago. All stages of the application were passed except one; my immediate neighbour even wrote me a letter of support off his own back which was lovely of him - but the application was rejected on the grounds that it is 'disproportionate' development for green belt. In the officer's report they calculated the increase in foot print of the house (plus conservatory) as 60% over the original footprint (this is incorrect and has obviously been estimated) the actual value is 45% (or probably closer to 30% if you don't include the conservatory which is already standing) which I have measure myself.

    I'm struggling to understand how the 2003 plans could have been approved, but not these ones, and also how my neighbours have both been able to build so extensively!? I am now strongly considering appealing the decision based on a) the scope of development not being greater than my neighbours and b) the previously passed application. Does anyone have any opinion of my chances of success? Another option would be to approach the council to see what reduction in the plans they would accept - there was a tentative indication that they would accept the new application if some or all of the conservatory was demolished. This is a last resort for us as we need every bit of living space we can get with two young children.

    Sorry for the long intro - does anyone have any advice?

    Thanks!
     
  2. freddiemercurystwin

    freddiemercurystwin

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    Did your proposals meet the local plan guidance? Precedents mean little nowadays and the chances are that the guidance used to decide applications nowadays is a lot more stringent than yesteryear.
     
  3. chappers

    chappers

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    Sounds like it does apart from the overdevelopment, which they appear to have mis-calculated.
    On the face of it though it does appear that you would have a strong case, just out of interest what grounds do the council have for thinking you would need archaeologists on site. is your house or the immediately surrounding area of historic interest.
    Do you have a link to your councils planning portal and your application
     
  4. jamboh77

    jamboh77

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    Hi chappers thanks for your response, yes here is a link to the application https://planningsearch.purbeck-dc.gov.uk/PlanAppDisp.aspx?recno=44837

    The reason for the archaeologist is that there is a scheduled monument on my neighbour's land (iron age barrow). again, from what I've been told it is mostly a formality as it's very unlikely anything will be unearthed - essentially I need to pay £500-£1000 for someone to watch a hole being dug for an hour!

    According to the officer's report the application was passed under all categories except the green belt impact, so I assume it met with local planning guidance?
     
  5. chappers

    chappers

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    To be honest with you having read the planning application I agree with you, they seem to contradict their own policy.
    They use these phrases repeatedly;

    Authorities should regard the construction of new buildings as ‘inappropriate’ within Green Belt locations except where such development involves an extension or alteration to a building which does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building. Officers have very carefully considered whether the size of the proposed extension is disproportionately larger than the original house by comparing the size of both buildings. The table below summarises this comparison. All measurements in the table are approximate.

    Well your extension won't be bigger than the original , even including the conny. They seem to be confusing the increase in size with the size of the additions. How can a 26.53m2 extension be bigger than a 43.67m2 original dwelling
    By their measurements I make it that the additions are 26.53m2 including the conny so yes a 60 % increase over the original dwelling.
    However the extension isn't in any way larger than the original building and will only be 38% of the finished total so will still be subservient to the original building, especially since 47% of the additions will be a single storey conservatory.

    They say they can't work out the volume of the conservatory, well they need to go back to school I think, but basing the volumes on the area I would estimate that the conservatory is 29.9m3 but due to the all round pitching of the roof would expect in reality it is actually less than that, but we will go with that. Then the extensions in total are actually a 50% increase in volume so again not larger than the original dwelling and equal to 33.47% of the finished dwelling(93.7m3/279.9m3)

    They also refer to the same wording in their own "countryside policy"; The Council’s countryside policy also stipulates that extensions to existing buildings should not be disproportionately larger than the size of the original building and under that policy they consider the extension to be OK, yet under NPPF with the very similar wording; The guidance goes on to say that Local Planning Authorities should regard the construction of new buildings as ‘inappropriate’ within Green Belt locations except where such development involves an extension or alteration to a building which does not result in disproportionate additions over and above the size of the original building. They say it fails

    This interests me; The increased scale of the dwelling will give some degree of visual imbalance, when viewed with the adjoining dwelling, but this is not considered to be overbearing or unduly dominating to the host dwelling. Firstly your neighbours house looks like it has been significantly extended too and looks like it will be still larger than your proposed dwelling(any chance of a picture from the front covering both houses in their entirety), but more significantly they say it fails on above policies yet go on to say but this is not considered to be overbearing or unduly dominating to the host dwelling

    I am no planning expert but would consider that they don't appear to have followed policy properly. You will have to look at local plan and NPPF to see if there is something in there about exact areas and volumes to make sure that they haven't just worded their decision badly and if not then I would carefully craft a letter to the officer asking him to reconsider on the grounds above, before you take this to appeal.
    A free half hour or even a paid one with a planning consultant would probably be time well spent.
    Just out of interest who did your drawings and what do they think.
     
  6. roganty

    roganty

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    Just throwing this in the mix.

    Did the previous owners build the conservatory under the original planning app?

    If they did, doesn't that count as "starting" and hence the old application is still "active" :unsure:
     
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  7. chappers

    chappers

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    That's a fair point I suppose but might not count as substantial commencement as it was probably a PD.
     
  8. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    You can't appeal on the basis of what the neighbours have or what you could have had 13 years ago.

    Your appeal must be on the basis of compliance with the current planning policy, and it's implementation.

    If you or your designer do not have the knowledge to make the appeal, then engage someone suitable to do it.
     
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  9. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    FWIW, I think you've got a reasonable chance at appeal - but then, but for 100mm, I'm not even certain that this isn't PD.
     
  10. foxhole

    foxhole

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    Are the local council very busy, my builder friend says they often regect planning if they cannot deal with it within the specified 8 weeks.
     
  11. chappers

    chappers

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    True but it can have some influence at appeal, particularly as they are claiming this proposal might overbear the neighbouring property.
     
  12. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It's all fact and degree. The OP can't have an over bearing extension just because everyone else may have one

    The policy is the crucial factor. Anything else is case specific whether it should be argued or not
     
  13. jamboh77

    jamboh77

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    Thanks for all the responses!


    I don't know if it was under the original application or not - in the officer's report for the application I've just had refused they mention that the conservatory is of a slightly different shape than in the original application so they don't consider that construction was ever started - I guess I could dispute this, but seems like they have already thought about and blocked that approach.

    I don't really know, but the area is fairly rural and there are not a large amount of houses so I doubt that they are busy.

    I appreciate that the application has to be in line with current legislation, but the key issue is the greenbelt which has been around since the 1980's I think - so unless the NPPF has changed much since they had their extension done it doesn't seem like consistent application of the rules, and seems like the judgement that our proposal is 'disproportionate' is a bit unfair. I tried to get some more information our of the planning officer (who in fairness is very nice and admitted that he was about to approve the application, and even told me so on the phone about a week ago, but his superior made the judgement regarding the proportionality) and he said that there are no 'figures' for what is or isn't considered proportional it just comes down to their judgement.

    Of course I'm biased, but I find it hard to believe that anyone who actually came to the site and saw the setting and the size of my neighbour's properties, would describe our proposal as out of keeping and disproportional.

    I think I will have a chat with some local planning advisers so see what they think - at the moment it's seems worth appealing.
     
  14. chappers

    chappers

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    That's not what is stated in the refusal nor the argument. What is stated in the refusal is that the new building may have an overbearing on the neighbours property, yet the neighbours property appears to have been extended to such a size that the new development would still appear subservient to the neighbours
     
  15. chappers

    chappers

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    Any chance of throwing up a picture of the front of both of the properties.
    As you say it's down to judgement, take it to appeal it will then be down to someone elses judgement from out of town, someone without a sensitivity for the local area. In your appeal you add in all the things such as previous applications, the extension and proportion of your neighbours(and yes Woody I hear you, but these things can and do sway appeals particularly on subjective matters). You also lay it on thick about how you need to stay in the local area and need more room for your growing family, emphasise the good design etc.
    Get a copy of the local plan covering the period of the previous application and see if the wording was the same and then the question would be how come the proposal was proportionate then but isn't now.
     
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