Negotiating the planning maze

Posted By Jon Sewell-Rutter

Oct 7th, 2013

Dwell has successfully concluded the last in a series of applications to secure planning consent for a property developer in Haywards Heath.

The site had a complicated planning history, littered with lapsed consents, refusals and planning appeals.  Dwell developed a strategy for reinstating the approvals one-by-one, overcoming changes in planning policy which would have otherwise rendered the proposals unviable.

The first application related to a new house to be built in the garden of a semi-detached house, consent for which had lapsed because pre-development conditions relating to the original approval had not been correctly discharged within the 3 year timetable.  Changes in the minimum space standards for a dwelling since the approval meant that the proposal was no longer large enough to be considered acceptable.  The site was small (even smaller than shown on the approved drawings, prepared by others!) which made enlarging the building without harming neighbouring amenity tricky.  Following close negotiation with the Local Planning Authority, Mid Sussex District Council, consent for the new enlarged house was granted.  The design was rationalised to minimise the need for site preparation and groundworks and reduce the cost of the superstructure in order to maximise the financial return for the developer.

Meanwhile, proposals to split the existing house into two flats had also fallen foul of the new space standards directive.  This meant reducing one of the two-bed units to a one-bed, with consequential decrease in end-value.  However, Dwell leveraged the extant permitted development rights associated with the dwelling house to enlarge the loft storey without the need for planning consent, and by inverting the internal accommodation were able to make up this shortfall in value by improving the second flat with open-plan kitchen living space and more generous bathroom facilities.  With construction of the permitted development loft works complete, re-application to split the house into two was made and, in due course, granted.

Fortunately the situation was recovered, but not without delay and the associated expense of re-application.  Dwell has forged a strong relationship with this particular client, who most recently described the practice as “…worth your weight in gold…” She now recognises the benefit of seeking good professional advice, and the practice has been appointed to work on other properties in her portfolio, eeking out the hidden value.