08 Oct 5 ways to improve your chance of getting planning permission in North London and East Finchley
Planning permission can be a costly affair, so it makes sense to do all you can to gain approval the first time around. Because of the stresses and strains we’ve seen homeowners go through when permission has been rejected, we’ve decided to write a post containing our top five tips for giving your project the best chance of delay-free approval.
When I said that planning permission can be costly, I didn’t mean the application itself – that’s just a few hundred pounds. It’s that cost multiplied by the number of times you have to apply, the cost of getting your architect to draw and redraw their plans for your property in the hope they’ll be considered worthy of approval, and the cost of delay – possibly having to pay builders for longer, maybe losing your preferred builders to another job and probably the cost to your family or investment of the extra weeks or months added to the completion date.
So here are our top tips to save you time, money and stress when applying for planning permission:
1. Early engagement with your council
It’s never too early to start talking with your local authority about your plans so they can advise you on what you can or can’t do with your property before you apply. Choose the right architect and builder and they will have a fairly good idea of what will work, but if you have a friendly, helpful contact at your local authority this can remove some of the guesswork. This is our number one top tip because it will not only save you time, but also money as you can get your design drawn up right first time rather than paying for revisions down the line.
2. It pays to be a good neighbour
Have you repaid that cup of sugar you borrowed when you moved in? Well now might be a good time to do so. As soon as you know what you wish to do and have a rough idea of the design, it’s best to find out what your neighbours think about your plans. Not only is it harder for them to say no in the future if you’ve talked about it personally (rather than them hearing about it through an official letter), but you may just find out that they know of others who have done something similar and you might get some ideas to further enhance your designs and the possibility of them being approved.
3. Good designs from a great architect
For many, this is when things start to get real and exciting. Seeing your plans come to life through architectural designs can help you to really focus on what you want out of your project. A good designer will take this even further and ensure you not only get the most for your money and your layout, they’ll have the experience to ensure that your plans have the best chance of approval.
4. Consider the tree factor
You might not be able to see it, but the land where you plan to lay your future foundations may already be occupied. Tree roots can threaten the structural integrity of your project – they can get in the way of digging, cause subsidence in the future through moisture loss from the soil, or even be protected with TPOs (tree protection orders), any one of which could cause issues and threaten your chances of obtaining planning permission. Any hint of a problem with trees could be enough to result in rejection. That’s why it’s best to call in your local arborist to advise you on any tree issues, to remove any problem trees or prune them to prevent problems in the future and to prepare a report to offer clear insights to the planning officer to give your application a greater chance of approval.
5. Be flexible about your planning officer’s suggestions
It might not feel like it while they are recommending amendments to your designs after rejecting your application, but planning officers are there to help you get your project going so be open to the suggestions they might make. A rigid attitude to your plans could cause further delay, but flexibility to change what’s needed could have your plans signed off sooner so you can move forward with your build.