Seven Things You Should Know About Planning Permission
1 The Local Government (Planning and Development Act) of 1963 came into effect on the 1 October 1964, since then all development requires planning permission. Unless of course it falls under the category of exempt development.
2. Development is defined by section 3 of the Planning & Development Act 2000 as follows
In this Act, "Development" means, except where the context otherwise requires, the carrying out of any works on, in, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of other structures or other land.
A material or significant change of use for example is changing a house to an office or vice versa, or a factory to a shop or anything similar.
3. Exempted developments are works or changes of use which are set out either in the Planning Acts or Regulations. They outline both Developments and Changes of Use that are exempt. The include for extensions of up to 40 square meters, domestic sheds up to 25 square meters, various agricultural, commercial and industrial exemptions, however it should be noted that all exemptions come with their own rules and requirements which should be fully understood before any work is carried out. Works to the internal of a house do not require permission or to the outside if they do not materially alter the appearance so as to made it inconsistent with neighbouring properties. for example covering the front of a house, in a terrace of brick fronted houses, with exterior insulation could be regarded as requiring planning consent.
4. Attic Conversions, in general if the conditions above are met then planning is not required for an attic conversion, however different Planning Authorities take different views, you should check their website before you do any work. Please note attic conversions especially to an existing two storey house are subject to building and fire control regulations, you should not allow anyone to do work without proper professional planning and supervision.
5 Where there is doubt as to whether what you propose is Exempted Development or not, you can apply to the Local Authority for a declaration that the proposed development is exempted. Prior to going down this route you should check the conditions in any previous planning permissions together with any other work previously carried out. This declaration can be invaluable when selling or in the case of neighbours objecting to the works when they commence.
Exempted Development status does not generally apply to protected structures (Listed Buildings). Each Local Authority will maintain such a list of properties, normally available online.
6. Enforcement of planning and the powers of Local Authorities are wide ranging up to and including the demolition of the offending structure, charging you for doing so together with any legal costs. fining you and even imprisonment. However after 7 years no enforcement action can be taken, from when the offence is alleged to have been committed. However this is not a grant of permission, for instance if the building in question was damaged by fire and required to be rebuilt, permission would be required and may not be forthcoming. Anyone purchasing such a building should be wary of this.
7. Planning applications are decided on the basis of both Planning Legislation and more importantly set out in the relevant Local Authorities Development Plan. Prior to making any application it is best to understand the criteria on which your application will be judged.
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