Applying for planning permission and permitted development

30 Dec 2008
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United Kingdom
We are building a garage and a kitchen extension. Both would fit the bill for permitted development except I want to put a pitched roof on the garage for extra storage. If the planning permission is not granted then I am willing to go for a flat roof so it is all permitted development.

Our local council (Bristol) recommends applying for written confirmation that the works fall under permitted development. For £75 it sounds like a reasonable price to pay for peace of mind.

So... do I apply for planning permission and confirmation of permitted development at the same time to speed things up. If so do I put the details of both jobs (the garage and the extension) on both applications?

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Is the pitched roof application likely to be contentious in any way? If it looks straightforward I would go straight for the application. I know Bristol well and as planning authorities go they are fairly progressive.
On principle, I would not pay any council a fee for "advice" - which they should be providing for free in any case. It's just a way of gleaning more money from the public.

And £75 is not reasonable for two minutes work of a planner, and a standard letter

Put a full app in, and if it needs changing, then alter it to get the approval or argue it on appeal
Thanks for the replys.

Just to clarify a few points:
£75 is a bit excessive for a few minutes work, yes. They have already verbally agreed that it is permitted development (for free). I am willing to pay the £75 for the piece of paper and peace of mind.

The garage is detatched and well away from the house. I don't think it will be contentious. There are bigger garages a few doors away and we back onto a block of garages.

My options:
1. Apply for planning permission for garage and extension. Don't bother with permitted development. Is there any issue with having everthing on on app? (This is sounding like the favourite choice)

2 . Apply for planning permission for garage and permitted development confirmation for the extension.

3 . Apply for planning permission for garage and permitted development confirmation for the extension and garage (as a back-up).

4. Something else I haven't thought of.
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Does the pitched roof definitely take the garage over permitted limits? a 4m high roof would suit a fairly big double garage.

If it definitely needs an app I would put in one for both.

If it doesn't then personally I wouldn't do anything apart from do a double check list to make sure you have everything covered.

But if you definitely want something written then you will have no option but to pay the fee and get the letter. Beware though that you need to make sure you have given them all the relevant information and clear dimensions.
I'm not certain that any letter from the council stating that something is permitted development is actually legally binding

AFAIK, there is a decision via a formal planning application, or a Lawful Development Certificate, and only these two count as a proper determination
Woody, you're almost right. A letter on headed paper, signed by the appropriate member of staff, stating that a proposal is permitted development carries as much legal weight as a formal lawful development certificate.

The relevant element of planning law is called estoppel. You can prejudice yourself by stating something in writing or verbally that would lead to a person thinking the proposed development is acceptable.

Any planner worth his salt will stick numerous caveats on letters where people have queried their permitted development rights. There are three reasons for this:

1) There is rarely enough information in a letter to be able to make a definitive judgement on whether something does or does not require permission.
2) The law of estoppel (as above)
3) The planning department misses out on a fee for the application for a lawful development certificate. I know everyone wants advice for free, but most planning departments are self-financing from fee income rather than a drain on Council Tax monies.

A former employee where I work (and he is former for a reason) once told someone over the phone that a change to an approved new house would not require permission. When it transpired that the proposed change was to move the house 20m away from its approved location, the Council tried to take enforcement action. We lost the appeal in the High Court because of the law of estoppel.

The planner was hung out to dry. The street on which the house was built is now named after the Law Lord who made the judgement.

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