Playing the planning 'game'.
Its can be really disappointing when your planning application is refused. However, in some many circumstances LPA’s take an overly cautious approach when assessing applications. In this example the Client’s design brief included a face lift of their existing house including extensions to provide additional living accommodation. The Client wanted something that was different to the surrounding context and not just match in with the dated surroundings.
After taking the Client through the design process the final design shown above included some simple extensions that remained subservient to the host dwelling and proposed the use of a new palette of materials that would elevate the design and give the property a new modern exterior.
After submission to the LPA we consulted with the case officer during the application process. Concerns were voiced regarding the proposed materials which in the LPA’s opinion would have resulted in harm to the character of the area. We were informed that the application would be refused.
After a discussion with the Client we agreed to amend the application to alter the materials to match the the existing dwelling, in order to secure the mass and bulk. The strategy would be on receipt of the approval to submit a second application to try and secure the original submission for the Client. The expectations were that this second application would be refused but there would only be one reason to overcome. We felt that this had a good chance of success on appeal.
Following receipt of the planning approval we immediately submitted the original proposals which were identical to the approved consent except for the proposed materials. The refusal was issued on the grounds that the proposed materials would have a harmful impact.
We then prepared an appeal statement on the Client’s behalf which was lodged with the planning inspectorate. The appeal process can sometimes be slow, but on this occasion the appeal was submitted early September and a decision allowing the appeal was given at the end of November. The inspector made the following comments in the appeal report:
“the house would retain a domestic appearance and, I conclude that the striking appearance of the rear elevation of the extended house would complement the character and appearance of the local area. Further, the cladding and fenestration of the side and front elevations combine with the proposed rear elevation to give the extended property having a cohesive and designed appearance.”
It was a fantastic result and great to get a fair decision that embraced the merits of good design. It demonstrates the positive effects of developments that introduce variety in appearance and raises the standards of design generally. Just because something doesn't match with it’s surroundings does not necessary mean it results in harm!