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LPA consider my Coach house to be a flat for PDR purposes.

Discussion in 'Building Regulations and Planning Permission' started by Wiggy1983, 29 Oct 2019.

  1. Wiggy1983

    Wiggy1983

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    Hello there.

    I have a bit of a problem / query that I'd really appreciate some advice on.

    We (the wife and I) live in a link detached Coach house that's about 13 years old. The 3 garages with a 1st Floor Bungalow on top sort of thing.

    We'd really love to do a loft conversion with a full length (or as close as possible) Dormer window on the back.

    We were rather hoping to be able to do this under Permitted Development Rights (PDR). You have much more scope to make improvements under PDR if you're a house rather than a flat.

    To make sure everything was kosher we had a £50 'informal planning advice' meeting with the council. The lady seemed to think that we'd be considered a house and not a flat, so PDR for the conversion would be fine. She'd have to check with her colleagues to confirm, but it looked fine.

    A couple of days later she emailed us saying that on reflection we'd be considered a flat, and therefore PDR for the Dormer wouldn't apply to us. We tried emailing back and forth for more advice and information, but apart from saying a full Dormer would certainly be rejected if we applied for planning; it seemed our £50 worth of 'advice' had been used up..........

    My question is:

    Is there a way of appealing or reasoning with the council to consider us a house and therefore obtaining PDR for our conversion? Or is it just arbitrarily decided behind closed doors, and that's that?

    I'm aware of the Certificate of Lawfulness (CoL) scheme, but it appears that you have to submit proper, detailed plans for consideration. This seems like a bit of a waste of time and money if the council are still going to turn around and say that we're a flat, and dismiss it out of hand.

    If I'm way off base with my knowledge, or I'm missing something, please let me know!

    Thanks,

    Rob.
     
  2. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    If you dont have any rooms at ground level which would make this more in keeping with a house design, then you may be stumped.

    Back in the 70's on the council estates, there was a particular design similar to yours of homes built above garages. We know these as "mews flats" (from the old reference to living rooms placed above stables) and while these look like houses, they are actually flats.

    I suspect that yours is a modern version of a mews flat, but marketed as a more grander "coach house" to bump up the price.

    You could submit a LDC application (for the dormer as PD), you wont need plans just photos and a very basic sketch of a dormer on the roof, and try arguing that the property is a "house" based on the common dictionary definition of a "coach house", and any references to your property being a coach house that you can find. And appeal any decision if need be.

    Or clarify independantly exaclty why this could not be done under a full planning application instead (ie by reference to the councils plannng policies rather than a council planner's [often biased] opinion).
     
  3. Wiggy1983

    Wiggy1983

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    Ah that's all very helpful, Woody. Very helpful indeed.

    Would a small downstairs hallway count as a 'room'? It also provides a side door access to my garage. I doubt it.

    It just seems like such a punitive decision to make off the cuff. The style is virtually the same as the other houses around it. The ridge height is lower or the same. Plonk a couple of cars on the drive and you'd hardly notice.

    I guess that's the Council for you.

    Have a couple of pics.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    No chance with the hallway idea.

    I think the added weight to the councils argument is that it looks like you don't own the three garages, just one of them? If so that's definately a flat, and can't even stretch it argue that it is a coach house, due to the division of ownership within the single property unit, sorry.

    BTW, PD rights would most likely have been removed on this, as it's a new estate, so you would have to apply regardless.

    Explore why something would not be approved under a full planning application. Ask a knowledgeable local planing technician or suchlike.
     
  5. I would call it a flat. To give two examples I worked on - 1) conversion into dwelling over a shop, called it a flat , 2) new dwelling over garage, called it a flat.
    There is nothing stopping you applying for planning permission for the proposed loft conversion ,whether it would be approved is another matter.
    which is your flat in the photo and what would be the 'full width' of the dormer :?:
     
  6. LukeB123

    LukeB123

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    The ownership issue is the main issue; It looks to me that there is a few houses in that photo that are light on parking and that provision would of probably been your garages at ground floor and the frontage?

    This is definitely pertinent from woody and I wouldn't go much further than this.

    You could do some more work off your own back, go through the original planning application for the area and getting some details. I would imagine the site plan or application form would probably indicate "flat" in the housing numbers when the site was built. Details probably public. Also check to see if PD rights have been removed while you're there. This is probably what the LPA will double check when determining the LDC, but I doubt you will have any joy, in this case.
     
  7. Wiggy1983

    Wiggy1983

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    Thanks guys.

    I do indeed own the centre garage, not the ones either side.

    @Leofric

    The entire building above the 3 garages (Inc 1 of the garages) and the front door is mine. The building further forward is my link detached neighbour. We were hoping for the Dormer on the rear of what's in the pictures.
     
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  9. Chunkytfg

    Chunkytfg

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    Do you own the freehold to the plot and the two houses who have garages under you have a lease for them?

    If you're the Leaseholder you're more than likely have bigger issues than planning permission!
     
  10. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Could your flat be considered to be a maisonette and if so would that then be treated differently by the planners

    This definition of a maisonette is from way back at a time when councils did respect the difference between a flat and a purpose built maisonette

    A maisonette has it's own private entrance.
    A flat has a communal entrance with other flats.
     
  11. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    How so?

    BTW, flats can have their own private entrance, and mainsonettes can have communal entrances!

    Maisonettes are essentially houses built within blocks (like flats) but they have two floors (like a house would)
     
  12. Nakajo

    Nakajo

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    And it's 'its'.
     
  13. It's what it's :!::D
     
  14. Whatever it might be called could it work with a dormer that isn't full width :?:
     
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