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First floor extension atop existing garage.

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by hfullwood, 17 Jan 2019.

  1. hfullwood

    hfullwood

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    Hello,

    We have recently applied for planning permission to extend our 1st floor on top of our existing garage. Please see attached drawing of extension. We have had an email from planning today:

    "It is my view that the proposed first floor extension is too wide and appears visually disproportionate in comparison to the existing dwelling. I note you have included a marginal set back at first floor which results in a small improvement to the proposed scheme. However I would advise that without a reduction on the width of the first floor extension, in line with previous comments your proposal may be unacceptable. Please give further consideration to reducing the width of the first floor extension at the side which would also reduce the impact of the proposal on the neighbouring dwelling and the window in the side elevation of number 23."

    Stepping the extension in by 1m from the side will require additional support to be built in the garage, additional foundations, and our current garage was built (by a previous owner) with foundations suitable for a double storey. Reducing the width would most likely mean us not extending, as the cost would be significantly more and we'd move house as the extension wouldn't be large enough for an additional 2 bedrooms.

    I am currently writing a reply and wondered if you had any advice? We live on a cul-de-sac where every house is different. Our neighbours house is 1.5m away however they do have a side window, it is a secondary window to a bedroom which has a larger window at the rear.

    Thank you
    Hayley
     

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  2. A_Novice

    A_Novice

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    How close is it to the boundary?

    What does the local planning policy say about 1st floor extensions?
     
  3. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It's not really up for debate. The planner is just expressing an opinion and you can't change that with your opinion

    If you can't state that the design conforms to policy then you'll have to just let it go through and see if the "may" becomes something more definate. And then appeal if it does.
     
  4. Leofric

    Leofric

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    Getting a refusal and appealing against the decision doesn't mean anything will change. There would have to be some grounds for the planning inspector to overturn the planning authority's decision to refuse your scheme. How wide is the proposed extension as shown and would this be only 1.5m from the side of your neighbours wall with a window ?
     
  5. hfullwood

    hfullwood

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    It is 0.3m to the boundary and there was an extension approved last week with an extension of similar proportion to ours, and closer to the neighbouring property which I will mention on the reply. The extension is wider than half of the original house, 4.3m to be exact.
    We can't change their opinion but to appeal we will need to write a note explaining the reasoning behind the appeal. The policy doesn't state anything that would clearly make our extension rejected.

    Thanks, Hayley
     
  6. wessex101

    wessex101

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    "It is my view that the proposed first floor extension is too wide and appears visually disproportionate in comparison to the existing dwelling"

    Read what the planner actually said, nothing in there about proximity to boundaries, overbearing to adjoining properties or out of character in the street scene etc. etc. Just that it is visually disproportionate to the existing house. That is just a matter of opinion, not Planning Policy. I think it looks OK, no doubt so do you.

    There might be a Planning Policy that waffles on in very vague terms about "quality of design" etc. which could technically be grounds for refusal but I think the officer would be on very thin ice. I would go back and say that in your opinion it is not visually disproportionate and you will not be amending the plans. And evidence of a similar approved scheme is excellent.
     
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  7. OwainDIYer

    OwainDIYer

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    Instead of doing a first floor + roof extension, can you do the first floor extension within a mansard style roof?

    That would be based on the ground floor walls, so not need additional support, but slant back a bit giving visual separation and distance from next door, and you wouldn't have the visual mass of the roof extension above it.

    You'd have much the same floor area within the first floor and the slope can be partially accommodated within fitted wardrobes internally.
     

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  8. hfullwood

    hfullwood

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    Thanks Wessex 101, she did say in a separate paragraph:
    "Please give further consideration to reducing the width of the first floor extension at the side which would also reduce the impact of the proposal on the neighbouring dwelling and the window in the side elevation of number 23."

    Thanks for the idea OwainDIYer and I will keep it in mind as a fall back option, if we can I'd prefer to do as planned as I think it will look nicer.
     
  9. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    The OP indicates that it's purely a subjective opinion of the planner, else they would have quoted a policy which it contravenes.

    In these cases, there is a greater chance that an inspector will have a different opinion to a planner, as often planner's opinions are biased for one reason or another.
     
  10. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    It's always a problem when crap drawings are submitted, as then a poor design always looks even worse.
    The trick is to hide a poor or contentious design with good presentation.
     
  11. wessex101

    wessex101

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    Ah, that could be a problem. Most Councils will have a specific Planning Policy on side extensions specifically to cover that sort of issue. You will have to sit down and read the policy to see if your proposal complies or whether there is any leeway in the policy. Often the policy documents are written in a very vague manner, full of ambiguities which might give you enough wriggle room to make an argument. Still not necessarily a game changer, there are plenty of successful appeals on proposals that technically breach planning policies.

    As for the neighbours side window. Does it serve a habitable room? and if so is it the only window in that room? Also is it an original window or a recent addition? It will probably only be a problem if the answers are yes to all 3.
     
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  12. hfullwood

    hfullwood

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    Wessez101, the neighbours window is a secondary bedroom window, the main window is on the front of the property. The window is original I believe. The top of their side window is higher than the eaves would be on our property, and we believe that the loss of light to this window would be minimal due to the window being on the north side of the building. We have provided our neighbour the plans and they haven't come back with anything as of yet.

    We have thoroughly read the planning policy, it is very vague and I can't see of any policy statement that could be used to reject our plans. Our planning proposal submitted is thorough and clear and they haven't raised any further information required apart from asking us to amend the width. I just hope it gets approved. Thanks for all the help!
     
  13. LukeB123

    LukeB123

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    If it is a secondary window you will probably be fine on that front as they have another avenue of getting light into the room.

    As Wessex states, the policy will say something like "good design" which can then be used / interpreted how the planners see fit. They will usually also have some general design guidance somewhere in supporting documents, or fall back on a local / wider level planning policy which also covers the area and general new extension / development principles.

    My two pennies is I think it's a bit too wide.. not by much, but I would have probably pulled it in a bit. Whether or not "a bit too wide" will end up in a refusal is tough.. any other similar examples in the street? If it is refused and you have the time to go down that route, decent chance at appeal.
     
  14. hfullwood

    hfullwood

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    LukeB123, the footings for the garage have been laid to support a structure directly above (these have been checked and approved by building control) and it seems bizarre to not utilise these and create new ones. It would also mean the extension would be narrow and could not be used as intended.
    Reducing the width of the extension would potentially require the inside of the garage floor to be dug up, and a trench excavated, new foundations laid and a wall/steelwork constructed to support the new structure above. Not only would this make the project more complex, expensive and further damaging to the environment, it would also make the garage predominantly unusable. If we cannot extend full width I doubt we would bother if I'm honest.
     
  15. LukeB123

    LukeB123

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    Yeah I got that from the first post / 3rd paragraph.

    Of course in a monetary sense it makes FAR more sense to utilise what's there structurally.

    Even though I think it's a little too wide, if I was in your shoes I would of still gone in with the same sort of form that you proposed and take a chance with the planners / inspectorate, would save a fortune. It's just planning won't take footing strength etc. into account unless it's physically not possible to construct it another way; they are really only concerned with the aesthetics of the proposal in line with the general policy.
     
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