Planning Permission Series: The Neighbour Consultation Scheme

Planning Permission Series: The Neighbour Consultation Scheme

The vast majority of conservatories and small extensions built these days will not require planning permission due to the permitted development rules. However those that are larger than average will need to go through the planning permission process. To give a little more breathing space to builders and homeowners the government has introduced the Neighbour Consultation Scheme in a bid to allow larger extensions without the need for planning.

The Neighbour Consultation Scheme was introduced as a sort of interim measure for rear extensions to be built that are larger than those currently allowed under permitted development, but without homeowners needing to get full planning permission. It is in place for a period of six years only from 2013 and work must be completed by 30 May 2019.

Size restrictions

The current permitted development rules state that rear extensions can be up to 4m – but these new rules have doubled that to 8m for detached houses and from 3 to 6m for terraces and semi detached buildings. Obviously this applies to homes where no extensions have previously been built.

The maximum height is 4m and maximum eaves height must be a maximum of 3m if the construction is within 2m of the property boundary.

Other restrictions

There are already a number of restrictions in place under permitted development and your extension will need to comply with those too.

  • Your extension cannot cover more than half the land surrounding the house when it was built. Remember that this includes any extensions or additions added since it was built
  • The materials used should be similar to those used in the existing house – or in the case of conservatories, it should be sympathetic
  • No verandas, platforms or balconies are allowed – you will need separate planning permission for these
  • No chimneys, flues soil pipes or antennae are allowed on the building
  • Your home should not be in a conservation area or be listed – these homes will need planning permission

The Neighbour Consultation Scheme Process

If you choose to have one of these larger than average extensions built and you want to avoid full planning permission, you must follow the recommendations regarding neighbour consultation. This process is quite detailed but is less onerous than the planning process which can be lengthy and expensive.

You will need to do the following:

  • Provide the Council with a written description of your proposal including the length of the extension, the eaves height and the highest point of the construction
  • You will need to show a site plan with at least 2 named roads highlighted
  • A block plan to a scale of 1:100 or 1:200 showing distances to boundaries and the existing house
  • Scaled plans at a size of 1:50 or 1:100 with the existing a proposed elevations along with the position of windows and the roof construction
  • The addresses of your neighbours who are adjoined to your property
  • Details of your builder or the developer.

What will this cost?

The best thing about the Neighbour Consultation Scheme is that the process is free. You can download a checklist from the Planning Portal website and do all the work yourself. Of course you may wish to hire an architect to produce the drawings for you. But your builder may have already provided some that will work.

What happens next?

Your neighbours will be notified of your proposed extension and will be given a minimum of 21 days to make any objections. The Council will use any objections to help them decide if your building is going to have an adverse impact on the area.

As long as no objections are received and your development meets all of the other criteria listed above, your project can go ahead after the 21 day period. If there is an objection it will be reviewed and the Council will decide if the objection has merit. This will add time to your project and may involve you providing additional information.

Your builder or developer will be provided with permission to proceed within 42 days. They may be issued with certain conditions under which they can build.

If your application is refused you have the right to appeal.

The benefits to you

For this limited time period you get the opportunity to extend your home to the extent that you really need – no making do when it comes to the proportions of your conservatory or extension.
Your neighbours will have the opportunity to let you know formally if they object to your plans – ensuring you maintain a good relationship with them. The process of “planning” is significantly faster than the usual approach, allowing you to get on with your plans and have that much needed extension or conservatory completed when you need it.
The planning process will be cheaper with fewer drawings needed and no fees for the planning itself.

If there are no objections, the chances are that your plans will be accepted as long as they meet all the requirements. So no concerns that you might be refused for no obvious reason.

Don’t forget that these new rules are only in place until 2019, so you should take advantage of the scheme.