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How to improve your chances of a successful planning application

Make sure your project gets the best start in life with our expert tips of achieving planning success.

4 min read

Securing planning permission can be one of the most nail-biting moments of your project. Will you get approval? Will those french-doors you’ve been dreaming about getting the all-clear? To spare yourself the heartache of rejection, there are a number of things you can do to give your project the best possible start in life.

At Resi, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners secure planning permission. Here’s what our in-house experts recommend to ensure your own success...

6 steps to improve your chances of getting planning permission

1. Get pre-application advice from your local council

Don’t be afraid to start talking to your local authority sooner rather than later. Councils offer pre-application advice, letting you talk to them about your proposed project and get an understanding of what you can or can’t do with your property.

Taking advantage of this early conversation is crucial, especially if you’re undertaking a large or contentious project. By knowing the boundaries, you can get your design on the right track from the start and save yourself paying for revisions later.

Learn more about pre-applications here.

2. Talk to your neighbours (party wall)

Whether you like your neighbours or not, they can either help or hinder your project.

Starting off, it’s always good to chat with people in your area about your plans, as they might be able to provide insight into issues they’ve already run into for their own project. What’s more, if you share a party wall with your neighbours, you’ll need their consent in the future to start your build.

Learn more about party wall matters here.

Alongside this, your neighbours are likely to be a huge consideration for your designs. From overshadowing to privacy issues, your plans will need to demonstrate your project won’t have too negative an impact on those next door.

3. Look for precedent in your area

Alongside checking in with your neighbours, it also helps to do your research on your area in general. Either through online sleuthing or by peeking over some fences, try to work out if other people nearby have taken on similar projects.

If you want to create a rear extension and spot a number of other extensions nearby this is a really good sign. It means there’s precedent in your area for planning approval of this sort, and could mean your project is in good standing. Likewise, if your area seems to be extension free, this could be a sign your planning authority is a little more strict than most.

It also helps to work out the boundary of your planning authority, as full it can be the case that two neighbouring councils take very different approaches to the process.

4. Hire an architect

Getting an architectural expert or designer involved will make a world of difference. These professionals will have taken on hundreds of residential projects, and so know planning applications inside and out. They’ll use this expertise to design you a home that has the best chance of approval, as well as unlocking your space’s maximum potential.

At Resi, we offer a complete planning service and have in-house agents who’ll help manage your application from start to finish. This means our homeowners avoid the risk of being caught out by bad paperwork, and we can even liaise with the council, just in case a quick design alteration is needed to get your project over the line.

When hiring your own architect, make sure you ask in your consultation how much planning support they’ll provide.

5. Listen to your planning officer

During your submission, you’ll have a planning officer assigned to your project and you might find them asking you to make alterations to your plans - but this shouldn’t dishearten you. If your design was facing outright rejection, they wouldn’t be attempting to change it up. So listen to what they’re saying and make concessions.

As we mentioned above, if done swiftly, these alterations shouldn’t slow your planning application down too much and could make all the difference in securing you the go-ahead.

6. Be patient

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but planning isn’t a quick process. At best, it’ll take between 8-10 weeks to get approval and that’s if no alterations are needed.

You may also face 'planning conditions' if your project is signed off. These conditions are requirements you’ll need to fulfil before you get building. For instance, you might have to submit details on your building materials.

Our general advice, when it comes to building projects, is to expect the unexpected and be patient. With the right professionals by your side, the process will work itself out.

If you’re looking for advice on your project, we offer a free consultation service. Book yourself in for a call here.

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