Adding storeys: is it easy to obtain planning permission?
Adding storeys to an existing building will generally require planning permission and may require other consents, including building regulation approval and, if your property is listed, listed building consent.
Applications for planning permission are assessed against planning policies adopted by your local planning authority, but also against other matters such as guidance produced by Government. There is a trend towards such guidance and policies supporting upward extensions.
In London, the draft London Plan suggests that Boroughs should apply a presumption in favour of the upward extension of flats, non-residential buildings and residential garages to provide additional housing, whereby such planning applications should be approved unless they give rise to an unacceptable level of harm. The presumption does not apply to listed buildings (and their settings) and conservation areas however, and other exceptions and conditions apply, including the requirement to comply with any design code produced by the relevant Borough for small housing sites. The draft Plan is currently undergoing examination and the policy remains subject to change before adoption.
Recently adopted government policy also supports opportunities to use airspace above existing residential and commercial premises for new homes, particularly where such development would be consistent with the prevailing height and form of neighbouring properties and the overall street scene, is well-designed and can maintain safe access and egress for occupiers.
There are already “permitted development” rights to enlarge, improve or alter existing homes to provide additional living space, but these do not currently allow for the addition of further storeys. The Government is considering also making such upward extensions “permitted development”, which means that a full planning application would not be required provided certain conditions and requirements are met. Instead, a more limited application for “prior approval” of specific matters would be required, although in this case the Government is proposing a long list of such matters – covering issues including design and the impact on the character of the local area and on existing occupiers and businesses.
Height limits in such scenarios are particularly contentious. The Government has proposed either that owners would be able to extend up to the height of the main roofline of the highest building in the terrace or, alternatively, to the prevailing roof height in the locality (which the local authority would need to determine). A maximum of 5 storeys from ground is under consideration, with new storeys of up to 3 metres in height, although there is concern about how the limits would apply in sloping streets.
The right would apply to residential premises and may be extended to other types of premises. It is not proposed to introduce permitted development rights in respect of listed buildings, conservation areas or other protected areas such as national parks or areas of outstanding natural beauty.
So will I get permission for my proposed upward extension?
Whether you can obtain planning permission for additional storeys to provide new homes will depend entirely on your property and the area in which it is located. National and local planning policies and guidance may provide high level support, but much will turn on the detail of the proposal. Even if permitted development rights are introduced and apply, obtaining prior approval may not be straightforward.
If your property is suitable for upward extension, critical to success will be a high quality design demonstrating careful consideration of the impact of the development on existing occupiers and neighbours and the street scene. Investing in a good architect will pay dividends.
Advice should also be sought in advance on any other approvals required and other development requirements and costs. These may include the community infrastructure levy which is payable on new floorspace in certain circumstances. Also, national and local policy on “section 106 obligations” should be checked – such obligations could require financial contributions or works.
This article was written by Claire Fallows. If you require any further information on this article, please contact Claire Fallows on +44 (0)20 7427 1046 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charity Training: Digital Transformation in the Charity Sector (Session 2)
We would be delighted if you could join us for the second session in our new series of bite-size webinars for charities.
Charity Training Webinar Series: Brand Protection (Session 1)
We would be delighted if you could join us for the first in our new series of bite-size webinars for charities.
The UK’s New Skilled Worker & Intra-Company Visa Routes: a closer look
Taking a closer look at the UK’s new visas to assist UK businesses.
Charles Russell Speechlys advises Duke Royalty on increasing and extending its revolving credit facility agreement
London listed Duke Royalty was founded in 2015 and is the leading provider of royalty finance to companies in the UK and Europe.
Explore your Options: Top 10 Tips with Option Agreements
Providing you with the top ten tips with option agreements - what should you know?
Co-parenting arrangements - what are they and what are some of the key considerations?
The Future of the High Street Starts Here
Office Occupiers: What to do if you’ve got excess space
What should you do if you have excess space or the wrong space for your business?
THE. PUB. IS. OPEN. but for how long?
How will the commercial property market exit COVID-19 restrictions?
EWS1 Forms - the latest episode
RICS have now published their highly anticipated guidance on when EWS1 forms will be required.
Q&A: Am I insured for COVID-19?
Laura Bushaway writes for Estates Gazette on a recent claim under the “disease clause” of business interruption policy.
The Purpose Podcast: Corporate purpose
Simon Ridpath discusses corporate purpose and the rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in “The Purpose Podcast”
Snail farms and other slow moving business (rates mitigation schemes)
Client alert: Construction under competition law spotlight
We outline the three investigations which have either recently concluded or are ongoing together with what this means for businesses.
New permitted development right to convert unused commercial premises into homes to come into force
Looking beyond the benefitted land: confirmation that an objector’s wider property may be considered in applications to discharge/modify restrictive covenants
Read our recent case study on applicants who were prevented from developing a new house due to a restrictive covenant covering their land.
Further extension of coronavirus restrictions affecting residential properties: Where are we now?
The extension will be implemented from and including 31 March 2021 by the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Knight Frank Wealth Report: The Global Perspective on Prime Property & Investment
Knight Frank partners joined Charles Russell Speechlys for a virtual panel-led discussion on the Knight Frank Wealth Report
Case Study: One Blackfriars Limited
An informative and positive judgment for administrators selling high-value property in distressed and complex scenarios.