Permitted development combined with approved planning - Velux Cabrio

5 Sep 2020
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United Kingdom
We are close to completing an extension on our property for which we had full planning permission. As part of the build and as part of the approved plans we wanted to add additional roof lights in the existing loft. The planning permission granted did not remove our any permitted development rights.

During the build we decided to install a Velux Cabrio - these are basically two Veluxes on top of each other that open to form a ‘balcony’. Only it’s not a balcony and the National Planning Inspectorate classes is at a roof light that falls within permitted development. There is precedent for this.

The Velux we installed does differ from the approved plans. It is larger height wise, but the added glazing is above head height. We thought that we were ok to install because a) these roof lights are classed as permitted development and b) it doesn’t make any material difference to overlooking etc compared to the approved plans. We don’t look into anyone’s house or windows.

Someone has reported us to planning. Planning has said that we can’t count it as permitted development because it was part of a planning application. They’ve said we can replace the Velux Cabrio or submit an amendment to our planning but this would be refused. We could appeal - but I’m not sure what the implications would be for further submissions if this was refused.

Question: Would losing an appeal invalidate our planning permission for the whole project or just the amendment? Would this prevent us from making a separate application to just cover the Velux?

They’ve sort of suggested that we could make a separate submission to just cover the Velux Cabrio. But it’s not clear if this would need to be full planning permission. Or if we could go down the route of lawful development.

Question: Should we make a separate application and what type? If we completed our extension and then say a month later decided to install the Velux Cabrio would this then fall within permitted development and we wouldn’t be in breach of our permission and wouldn’t need any further approvals from the council?

advice appreciated!
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What do the conditions attached to your Planning Permission actually say?
Just the standard I think:

To be carried out in accordance with the drawings and documents

to commence within three years

The materials to be used in the construction of the external surfaces, including walls, roof, windows and doors, shall be as specified on the application form. All works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details.
If the Cabrio is on the original roof slope, then it's PD, regardless of a rooflight being on the original planning application drawings.
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So to confirm... the rooflight is to be positioned within the existing roof and not the new roof as the latter cannot be PD?

As it appears you have included the rooflights in the formal Planning application, they have been assessed via Planning policy. Any chance of increased overlooking resulting in loss of privacy would therefore be frowned upon.

If the LPA aren’t willing to play ball now, your only option may be to complete the current extension/approved works with the stated rooflights and then put in the Cabrio post completion. No harm in trimming out for that opening now though so it’ll be an easier job to punch through later.
Yes the roof light is in the existing roof not the extension.

unfortunately we’ve already installed the Velux Cabrio so just trying to work out if there is an option that would not involve taking it out again. It honestly doesn’t make any difference to overlooking compared to the approved scheme but recognise we perhaps should have made sure it was ok with the council first.
I guess more generally I’m looking for experiences where something that would usually fall within PD but has been undertaken during other works included as part of a planning application.

I mean - I think if we had completed the extension as planned but then afterwards installed the Velux Cabrio it would be fine. But who decides whether the work has been undertaken during the approved works or subsequently? And it all results in the same end game of us with a Velux Cabrio. Just one route is much more expensive!
Where there is a backup option via PD, LPA’s can and have been a little more relaxed. Your case is a little different as somebody has reported you/the works for a breach of Planning. If you don’t comply with the LPA’s requests, they could take enforcement action. That is like a worse case scenario. You could appeal the enforcement and the appeal decision could go either way. Think they view enforcement appeals differently to your normal householder appeals.
Where there is a backup option via PD, LPA’s can and have been a little more relaxed. Your case is a little different as somebody has reported you/the works for a breach of Planning. If you don’t comply with the LPA’s requests, they could take enforcement action.

Yes, they can, but in practice are they likely to do so for something which would not require P.P. anyway?
The NPPF guidance to LPAs on enforcement states:
"...enforcement may not be appropriate for a minor or technical breach where no harm has occurred"
The cabrio could be regarded as a technical breach; and at the same time, has caused no harm.
Further on, it states that the threat of enforcement should not be used for unauthorized development which would in any case receive planning permission.
By extension, we could assume that the council should not be enforcing any item on the drawing (ie the rooflight) which would be P.D. and for which they would be duty-bound to give a LDC.
IMO, the OP should just forget about it.
Yes The Cabrio is a roof light according to the Planning Inspectorate.

See Planning Inspectorate case: Certificate of Lawful Development appeal ref: APP/L5810/X/15/3002668 36 St James’s Avenue, Hampton Hill, Hampton, Middlesex TW12 1HH
The planners have come back with (among other things)

It is not possible to combine works permitted under planning permission with those that *may* be permissible under PD and therefore to explore a lawful development certificate would not be advisable.

Does anyone have any advice to this particular point? It seems a bit bonkers that if we had done this first, or after the extension is wouldn’t matter but because we did it at the same time it does?

We’ve had a local architect out who has pretty good success rates with this council and they are pretty confused by the whole thing...

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