Infill rear side first floor extension - planning permission

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Dear Experts

I would like some guidance or rather thoughts on a situation i'm facing here. I have requested planning permission for first floor rear side extension. For some reason the when the previous owner built the first floor side extension they only built half the depth of the property. All the other extensions that are the same on the street either go to the back of the house or they go beyond the back of the house and actually further into the garden.

The planning permission was unfortunately refused, there was no consultation and on repeated attempts of contacting the planning officer no dialogue was provided. 48 hours before the determination date the officer responded and said they had not had a chance to review the application in detail. On the determination date we were told it was unlikely to be approved, we requested a withdrawal and were told that a decision had already been made and we would receive this shortly. Two ours later we received a 'refused' application.

I've applied for planning permission on 3 occasions before and have never come across this, i've also helped some family members and friends with their applications.

Have i just been lucky or is this normal? Is it even allowed? That 48 hours, with 8 weeks behind you that you can say you haven't looked at it and then refuse a withdrawal request?

Also i can't wrap my head around the refusal reason.

"The extensions as proposed, form awkward additions that fail to remain subservient to the host property causing harm the character and appearance of the host property and are out of keeping with the approved pattern of development in the area, in conflict with policies D1 and D4 of the London Plan (2021)"

https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/draft_london_plan_chapter_3.pdf

The first point on the london plan in D1 says "use land efficiently by optimising density, connectivity and land use patterns". Dormer's create shadowing i.e environmental impact and this is the most efficient use of land and density?

How does the London plan come into affect here? The recommendation by the planning officer is to do a dormer loft extension under permitted development which will double the budget costs from £20k to £40k, it will also block light into the back garden.

I've attached the existing plan with proposal and photograph showing this is an infill rear extension. Please note the house that is to the left of my house is set 3.3 feet forward so hence there is a bit of a difference. Please also note that the rear room of the neighbouring property is an en suite bathroom with a small obscure window to a non habitable room. The house is in number 5 in a row of 8 houses and all of the other 7 house in the row of 8 have the infill extension....it sticks out now but fits after the extension is done...

I just want to check my thinking, I've already received 9 letters from companies that say they will help through an appeals process but I'm not entirely sure this requires an appeal? I genuinely can't understand the reason for the objection and because the planning officer will afford no dialogue I'm hoping you can set me straight :)

Many thanks

X.

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There may well be 'should have, could have' comments, or opinion on merits, but you need to appeal the decision if you believe the application should have been approved - ie is in accordance with the council's planning policies.

Separately or in addition you may be able to pursue a formal complaint to the council about how the application was dealt with - but this can't include the decision or planning issues. And if need be, take this to the Local Government Ombudsman.
 
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Hi Woody

Many thanks for coming back to me,

Thought i'd provide an update, so the architect decided the best approach would be to go for the 'free go' reapplication and provide a 3 page document on why neither the 'London Plan' nor the 'Ealing Plan' were of relevance. The original response says they are not keeping with D1 and D4 of the London plan. D1 is to do with street scene, the front elevation is not affected. D4 is to do with internal minimum bedroom space which doesn't make sense as the sqft requirement is being met for a single bedroom.

For the Ealing plan the reference is to 7.4 A and B, A being in reference to street sequence - front elevation remains unchanged. 7B is daylight and shadowing....it's an infill extension as you can see from the back. They have again said reapply for a loft conversion, but this causes much more shadowing to the rear than a first floor infill as the shadow is already present from the neighbours property.

Again after chasing the planning officer for the last 10 days before the determination date, the planning officer responded with 48 hours remaining saying that it will be refused as nothing has changed on the plans. No response to any requests of any elaboration on why the plans do not comply. No additional commentary provided. The architect again thanked them for the response and asked for any additional comments. With no choice with 24 hours to go, a request to withdraw was sent and the planning officer responded immediately and said it was withdrawn.

When asking the planning officer if the free go was still valid, we were told no.

I can understand that an appeal my be necessary, but with no commentary provided and references made to clauses that don't appear relevant an appeal seems a little overkill?

I had a question about the appeals process, does appealing work? Why wouldn't the appeal people just say no too? It seems there is no real need to review or provide comment so isn't the least workload for them always 'no' take the application fee and move on? I'm trying to understand what would motivate and appeal department to not just follow the councils advice...

Many thanks

X.
 
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