Planning applications are obviously an important step in the quest to make construction dreams a reality. But not all planning applications are made before work begins – many applications are actually made when the work has already been completed, putting home and building owners in the potentially precarious situation of depending on a generous decision from the authorities to keep their new work in place. If the application is denied, an enforcement notice will be issued that requires you to return the property to how it was before any changes were made.
You may think that such applications are rare due to this inherent risk, but they’re actually more common than you might think. According to figures from Churchill, almost 40,000 retrospective planning applications were made in the UK over the last three years alone. Forty such applications are made on the average day, and the most common application is for a single-floor extension design.
One in eight of these applications, however, are actually rejected by the UK authorities; with the most common reasons for being turned down including the development being out of character with its surroundings (28%) and privacy concerns (10%).
Due to the risky nature of retrospective planning applications, the safest course of action is – of course – to make your application before any work begins. Construction is a big undertaking, and it shouldn’t be left up to chance.
But maybe, for whatever reason, this isn’t an option for you. Maybe you have no choice but to make a retrospective application, and you’re wondering about how to proceed and maximise the chances of your development gaining approval from the authorities. Here are a few do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind.
Don’t leave it too late
Of course, you could argue that any kind of retrospective application is already ‘too late’. But don’t make a bad situation worse – ideally, you should apply for retrospective planning permission as quickly as possible after the work has begun. The sooner you apply, the less money, time, and effort you will have sunk into a doomed project. Waiting until the project is completely finished would maximise the risks – after paying to build your development, you will also have to pay to have it demolished if your application is unsuccessful.
Do seek professional help
Completing any kind of planning application can be a daunting prospect. If you’re at all unsure, it may be worth seeking professional advice from a planning consultant. It’s best to consult a skilled architect or specialised architecture firm to help you obtain a planning permission.
For the best chances of success, you need to find out exactly what your planning application should include – and the common mistakes and pitfalls you should avoid. For the uninitiated, planning applications can be a maze of confusing jargon and complicated regulations – but a planning consultant will help you to find a clear path forwards.