Obtaining Permission to Build
A key part of our turnkey service is obtaining permission from your Local Planning Authority (LPA) to build your annexe. Something we achieve with an application under the ‘Caravan Act’ and then if needed, a Householder Application.
The ‘Caravan Act’ for Annexe Plans
Introduced in 1968, the Caravan Act specifies what a caravan is and can lawfully be kept on your property. The good news for homeowners is that our structures meet these parameters. Yes, a fully functioning home, connected to utilities can be classed as a caravan in the eyes of the law.
For peace of mind, we obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness from your Local Planning Authority to prove your annexe is lawfully situated. This comes in use should you wish to sell your property in the future and your buyers’ solicitor or mortgage provider requests proof of lawfulness.
Annexe Householder Planning Application
Should the application under the caravan act be unsuccessful, we can then apply using a Householder application. Most applications are decided by a case officer with approval granted by your Local Planning Authority (LPA). LPA’s are unique as each Local Authority will have its own approach to planning policies and guidance.
However, the process is the same across the UK, unless you live in a conservation area, national park, green belt, site of special scientific interest, or area of outstanding natural beauty. In these circumstances, a conservation officer will offer guidance on what you can and can’t do. In very rare circumstances, specialist surveys may be required to support your application.
On your behalf, our planning expert works with your case officer, so you needn’t worry about following queries up or sending additional information. Once planning permission is granted, a planning notice is issued.
We initially prepare and submit the application to your LPA. Once validated (which can take up to four weeks), the planning application process takes approximately eight weeks. Here’s how it works…
As soon as your Local Planning Authority (LPA) receive your application, they will determine whether it is complete and check its validity. You will receive notification in writing that your application has been validated and the determination process has started.
The beauty of working with our planning expert is we get off to a good start by ensuring a professional application is submitted in the first place. This saves valuable time that may otherwise be wasted having to resubmit an application.
Once your application is validated and registered, your LPA will publicise the application and consult on it. LPAs are required to publish specific information about planning applications on their websites, your address, for example, and the date when representations must be made by.
They will also either notify your neighbours via letter or put up a notice on or near your property. We recommend that in the interest of good relations this isn’t the first time your direct neighbours hear about your annexe. It’s courteous to let neighbours know your intentions before this stage – it gives you time to settle any of their concerns before we apply for planning on your behalf.
In the meantime, your application will have been assigned to a case officer to review. Most planning applications are decided within eight weeks but can take up to thirteen weeks for more complex cases.
During your application review, your case officer will also consider any comments received about your proposal – these can be from neighbours which is why it is important to speak to neighbours first. Objections to your annexe don’t necessarily mean permission won’t be granted either – that’s down to your LPA.
Target Decision Date
Your LPA will give us an idea about the likely timetable for your application. As mentioned, this is usually within eight weeks. The length of the decision-making process is enshrined in law so if your LPA can’t decide your application within eight weeks, they will obtain your written consent to extend the period.
This is unusual when applying for granny annexe planning permission though – most cases are very straightforward and processed according to schedule. Throughout this process, we’ll keep you in the loop and let you know your target decision date.