If you have had planning permission declined for your granny annexe or you haven’t applied yet but have some concerns about approval from your Local Authority, keep reading.
The Truth About Granny Annexe Planning Permission
Unfortunately, there has been a bit of misinformation surrounding granny annexes and planning permission. It’s a common misconception that annexes don’t need planning permission, but they do and we wouldn’t advise starting a project without planning permission.
In addition, the Caravan Act isn’t the magic easy option for situating an annexe in your garden – most annexe planners use it as a safety net or backup option for planning applications.
The truth is, you need to obtain planning permission to build an annexe, whether that be through a Householder Application or using the Caravan Act.
The mistake may arise from the mistaken belief that you can build a granny annexe under permitted development – you can’t. Garden rooms, which can be a similar construction to granny annexes can often be built without planning because they are considered ‘incidental’ to the main house. This means they aren’t made for living in – these permitted development buildings are typically used for offices, gyms, or workshops.
On the other hand, granny annexes are considered ‘ancillary’ to the main house, this means they contain everything you need to live in the annexe such as a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area but also share some facilities with the main home (the garden or the address can often be used as the ‘shared facility’). The use of the building is very different to a gym or an art studio. That’s why granny annexes that are for living in full time, need planning permission.
Why Could Granny Annexe Planning Be Declined?
Each Local Planning Authority (LPA) will have its conditions, and rules around annexes, although they are broadly the same. There are a few key reasons annexe permission may be declined in almost all areas and it is usually to do with the size of the annexe or the usage.
Firstly, an annexe has to be subordinate to the main property – basically, the annexe footprint has to be smaller than that of the house. Your annexe also can’t take up more than 50% of the garden.
Annexes may also be declined because they have too many rooms or don’t appear to be a ‘granny annexe’. For example, if you build a massive annexe and it has multiple bedrooms, games room, utility room etc it kind of stretches the limits of what a granny annexe is – a small home for a relative to comfortably live in.
Because some of what a granny annexe is, is open to interpretation, there are multiple reasons your LPA can decline planning permission and these reasons will differ in each area.
Another bump in the road when it comes to obtaining planning permission could be your neighbours objecting. Neighbours’ concerns will be taken into consideration by your LPA so when building an annexe you need to stick within the defined legal dimensions for your annexe and make sure your neighbour isn’t going to have any issues. If they have any concerns, you are better off speaking to your neighbour before you apply for planning so that you can head off any concerns straight away, rather than delaying planning permission.
Another reason granny annexe planning permission can be declined is if your property is in a Conservation Area or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). This isn’t super common but if you do live in one of these areas, you can likely still build a granny annexe, you will just have a different set of conditions to meet.
Can You Appeal Declined Planning?
So, can you appeal declined planning for a granny annexe? The answer is yes, of course, you can. If you applied under a Householder Application, you usually have 12 weeks to appeal the decision.
In the first instance, don’t panic if planning is declined because your LPA may just want to clarify a couple of things or recommend a couple of modifications.
If you can’t obtain full planning permission, you may want to try using the Caravan Act to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness. Be aware though that these can also be declined. The reason annexes builder such as us can use the Caravan Act to obtain planning is that our annexes have specifically been built to meet the definition of a mobile home (yes really! Even without wheels!). If yours is a self-build project, you may have gone way beyond the boundaries of what can be considered a mobile home.
If you have had planning declined for reasons that are beyond a simple amendment you can make yourself, it’s usually best to seek the help of a planning expert to help you with your appeal. They will have a much better understanding of what grounds you can appeal on and what the decision is likely to be from your LPA.
How To Avoid Declined Granny Annexe Planning
Talking of professional planning experts, we recommend using someone else to deal with planning right from the start of your project. It’s so much easier!
One option is to use a turnkey service, like ours, where planning permission is included in your annexe build! Using an all-in-one service will save you time, money, and a whole lot of stress!
When you use a professional service like ours, it’s unlikely your planning will be declined in the first place because:
- We carry out pre-planning surveys of your property so that we know what restrictions there are, what objections we are likely to face, and how big your annexe can be.
- Our granny annexes are built specifically to meet planning criteria for most garden sizes and are not likely to be objected to by your LPA.
- Our granny annexes are also built to meet the definition of a motor home. Although they contain everything you need for comfortable living, our annexes can still be classified as mobile homes.
- We carefully consider the likelihood of planning being declined and are ready with a backup option of the Caravan Act. In some instances, we may use the Caravan Act first but our usual option is to obtain full planning.
- We can even work with customers in Conservation Areas and liaise with the local conservation officer to modify our designs to meet local regulations. Sometimes this just involves cladding the annexe in timber rather than coloured weatherboard.
Contact Family Annexe
If you want to build your very own granny annexe and don’t want to deal with the hassle of planning or having to sort out planning appeals, please get in touch. You can browse our range of annexes here.