Residential Planning Basics

Before you can begin building an extension or making alterations to your property, you may be required to obtain planning permission. This involves producing construction drawings that comply with the building regulations. If you have never dealt with the building planning process before then you may want to seek the help of an expert who will be able to create CAD drawings and CGI plans for your proposed developments. Many applications are rejected immediately because they do not include the basic information or fail to meet the rules and requirements. In this article we will explain some of the basic things you will need to consider when applying for residential planning permission.

As the owner of the property or land, it is your responsibility to comply with the relevant planning rules and building regulations. If you do need to apply for planning permission, it can often take around twelve weeks before approval is given. It is essential that you always discuss your proposals with your local planning authority before you begin working on a project, regardless of whether you need planning permission or not. Failure to comply with the relevant legislation could result in you having to restore or demolish your building.

Always consult your local planning authority before carrying out any building work.

Informing your neighbours

Before you send in your planning proposal it is important to inform your neighbours about the work you intend to carry out on your property. Understandably your neighbours may be concerned about how the work will affect their own property and their lifestyle. For example, if the building will take light away from their home or spoil the view from their window, they may be entitled to make a complaint. If your neighbours do have issues with your proposed plans it is best to get in contact with a lawyer who will be able to advise you further.

Meeting environmental health regulations

Environmental health deals with the safety of people living and working in a particular area. Building work that is contributing to air pollution or is thought to be creating unfit housing may be investigated by your local environmental health department. If you are unsure of whether or not you need to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment then it is best to get in touch with your local planning authority who will usually be working alongside the environmental health department.

How will your building affect the surrounding nature and wildlife?

It is important to consider how your extension or building changes will affect the local wildlife. Certain animals, plants and habitats are protected under their own legislation known as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and European legislation. It is essential to find out what species are protected by the legislation and what action you will need to take. Your local planning authority will be able to offer you further advice.

Creating a suitable design

The design of your extension or other building work will vary depending on the style of your property. It is essential that you play close attention to the aesthetics of your design, as you do not want to create an eye sore for yourself or your neighbours. Designing an aesthetically pleasing extension will also make your property much easier to sell in the future. Most planning authorities recommend that you use the same materials, or those in a similar style to the original building for extension work.


It is important to consider how your building work will affect the roads and highways surrounding your property.

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Contacting your local highways authority

Although roads and highways are the responsibility of your local highways authority, you will still need to consider how your construction work will affect them. If you are concerned about this you will need to get in touch with your local highways authority.

Keeping this information in mind and carrying out the appropriate pre-proposal planning actions will make the application process a whole lot easier for both yourself and your local planning authority.

Image credits: Alex Pepperhill&Alan Stanton

Author Bio

This article has been produced by Helen Wallis of Architects Corporation, who are architects in St Albans offering a full planning service, tailored to meet their clients needs.


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