Sunday, 28 July 2013

Planning Permission

Having some down-time every night with my dad gave us chance to sit down and bounce some ideas around about what this garage is actually going to look like.

I had already done some research on weather we will need planning permission or not and this is what it has to say on the planning portal website regarding garages:

outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

1. No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.

2.  Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.

3. Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.
4. No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
5. No more than half the area of land around the "original house" would be covered by additions or other buildings.
6. In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.
7. On designated land buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.
8. Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding 
will require planning permission.

It's Rule three that's the only one of any real concern to us as we are well within two meters of the boundary in places. The long and the short of it is if we want to pitch the roof, we need planning permission, but if we do a flat roof, we don't. I think everybody would think it would look better with a pitched roof so I decided to apply for planning. A bit more research revealed I was going to need various types of plans, no problem, I'll just get my architect to draw them up..............Oh yeah, I am the architect!

There are some great forums and websites out there to help you draw up your own planning permission plans and put together an application (Diydata is a great one), all you need is an A3 pad, a scale ruler, a set square, a tape measure, a pencil and a fine-liner pen.

There are Four types of plan you need to submit with your application: a site-plan, a location plan, a 'elevations' plan and a 'floor-plan'. The two plans that were going to need the most work from me were the elevations plan and the floor-plan.

The elevations plan is basically a head on view of each side of your building, I drew mine at a scale of 1:50. We knew it was 7x7 sqaure and the eaves needed to be 2.5m (as stated in the rules). The apex of the roof we decided to set at 3.5 meters to keep it nice and low for everyone and run the pitch across the garage (rather than lengthways), one quarter of the way back from the main door. this would coincide with the pillars that would be built into the walls. My boss donated the windows that came out of his place when he was doing his house up a few weeks back so we knew how big they would be, a big double door is about 14ft wide and I measured up our back door to get a size for the side door. After a couple of hours I had something that looked like this

Floor-plan next:

The best advice I read about drawing your own plans is 'don't assume any detail', mark or write absolutely everything on your plans It's all the guy who's looking at it has to go on and your never going to get to talk to him.

These pencil drawn originals are your 'masters' so don't go over them with your fine-liner as you may need to make amendments to them depending on what the council say. I took mine down to the library and took a photo copy of each one, then sat down and went over the photo copy's with the fine-liner.Now they looked like this:

Now you can photocopy these as many times as you like.

The 'site plan' and 'location plan' are both basically maps of your site at different scales, you can buy them (as PDF's) from the websites recommended to you on the planning portal website. they need to be between specific scales and show your property and the proposed development edged in red. You can use the drawing tools on the website to mark the boundary's etc on your plans before you buy them, that way you don't have to get the red pen out afterwards you can just print them all off ready to go. I did get the red pen out though to mark on the drive and some trees just to be on the safe side.

Location plan:

Site Plan:

One thing I thought I'd better be double sure about is rule 5, 'No more than half the grounds of the 'original house' can be covered with new buildings'. This basically means the area of the whole plot, minus the footprint of the house when it was first built, so not including any extensions etc. You take that figure then half it, then you subtract the area of any extensions you or any previous owners have built and that tells you how much you have available for development, hopefully it's greater than the area of your garage.

Calculating the area of irregular shapes is quite tricky so it's best to split your plot into regular shapes, triangles to be exact. You calculate the area of a triangle like so: 1/2 Base X Height. you don't do this in the garden with a a tape measure either you, you can use your site plan and your scale rule, It's not an exact science but it will tell you weather your going to be marginal or not. Here's mine:

I was very conservative with my measurements but as it turns out I was well within my allowance due to the fact that I've knocked down the old garage and the coal-store. The total grounds were about 270 sq meters, so 135 available for development, minus 15 for the kitchen extension leaves 120. The garage is only going to be 49sq meters so definitely no problem there.

You also need to consider the type of planning application you need to make. As far as I understand it, unless you're planning to build an entire new house from scratch 'householder planning' will be fine, as this covers additions or alteration to a house that already exists. You can get a pre-application advice service but it costs well over a hundred quid so I decided to take my chances without it, I think as long as you do plenty of research and read the forms properly you should be able to find out everything you need to do. The application form also comes in pretty handy for letting you know what you need to mark on your plans. Once you've filled it in you make four copy's of everything (I also wrote a short covering letter) and send the whole lot in with a cheque (£172 in my case, there's a cost calculator on the planning portal). You can do it online too but you need your plans to be in PDF format.

And then you wait. I haven't had anything official back yet but they cashed my cheque the day before yesterday so I guess that's a good thing.

Seeing the garage come to life on the plans is a great feeling after it's been little more than vague imagining for so long, it's starting to feel like real progress is being made