Planning permission for decking at a gnd flr flat in conservation area

13 Jul 2007
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United Kingdom
Hello all,
I am a director for a property management company for a block of flats.
This is a bit complicated so bear with me please.
A ground floor flat owner in a block of 24 applied to the freeholders of the land for permission to build a decking outside their flat. Approval was given by the freeholders and we management directors weren't asked. After a couple of years, damp appeared in the adjacent flat caused by the badly constructed decking. No planning permission was applied for but the 4 year enforcement rule has now passed. The flats are in a conservation area but the decking is at the back away from the road. Part of it is over 60cm high with no balustrade in the communal walkway running between flats blocking the route.
We have now the opportunity of removing the decking to remedy the damp.
Would the flat/decking owner have to apply for planning permission once the decking has been removed? The planning office admin dept. tell me "Yes" but am still not convinced.
Please advise if you might know any useful info.
Thanks very much in advance.
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Yes they will need planning permission.

Complete (or substantial) replacement, or replacement in parts that results in a complete/substantial replacement is development and not repair.

The 10 year rule may apply if the decking is a breach of a condition
While the original scheme should have been submitted for Planning Permission (for two reasons), it seems unlikely that an application for the replacement scheme would now be refused.
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Thanks to both of you. Apologies but I have more questions............

If all neighbours object, which is very likely, are they still likely to pass it?
As the decking has caused severe damp problems to the adjacent flat, would the decking have to be built in a modified form to prevent damp penetration? At present masonry under the decking has breached the dpc and the fall on the deck is also towards the next door flat. Would the planning dept insist on a design that prevents any further problem with damp?
Also can the council insist it complies with building regulations?
Hopefully you are still there!
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Planning have no remit on the technical design or the need for building regulations. If you are managing the block, then that's your job.

Valid objections will be considered, objections along the lines of "I don't like it" will not.
Hmmm.......thanks. Sorry more questions...........The only planning objection I think may be valid is that the decking runs up closer to near the neighbours sitting room window. They are be able to peer in the window more easily if they hang over the deck albeit very wobbly at the moment. But anyone can walk past and look in anyway as it's communal.

What about design, appearance and material as an objection? It's a cobbled together eyesore now, so would it have to look better than that?
I assume the flat owners would supply detailed drawings at the planning application stage wouldn't they? Would they have to submit the design to us management company before they apply? We just want to make sure that the damp problem doesn't recur basically and it looks nice and is built correctly to a regulated standard.
Excuse me, but surely as a management company you should know this stuff, as it's part of your management function.

The terms of leases or tenancies that you manage would normally state the procedure that the residents need to go through for additions and alterations.

If the proposed work does require landlords permission (which is delegated to the managing agent) then there is requirement for this to be considered fairly, and not unduly withheld.

So say, a flat in a run down estate may have a deck built of pallets, but that might not be desirable in Knightsbridge.

In all cases, you would normally condition any permission, that the work is done in full accordance with any applicable regulation, and designed so as not to cause damage or affect any other resident's home. And you would require proof of permissions, and inspect it on completion.

As for planning, if it meets local planning policy then it should be approved. There is some scope for subjective planning opinion, but it's limited. The most significant concern in terms of other residents and neighbours is the effect on their amenity (use and enjoyment) of their homes. Over looking fences from a raised deck might be a concern. Looking down at the deck from the top floor of the block might not be.

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