Planning Permission Myths and Facts – What’s Holding You Back?

There’s little more deflating than setting your sights on a glorious building or remodelling project only to be stopped in your tracks by refusal of planning permission. The whole world comes crashing down before you and it seems like the end of the line – it’s a kick in the gut like no other. From top-level property investment gurus to homeowners looking to make the most of their assets, it all comes down to the simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ decision over which it often feels you have no control or influence.

However, there’s much to the subject of planning permission that’s wholly misunderstood by much of the public in general, which in many cases could be holding back development plans unnecessarily. So, in order to dispel at least a few untruths, here’s a quick look at just a few of the most prevalent myths on the subject of planning permission and the respective truths behind them:

Myth – It All Comes Down to Personal Opinion

First of all, the theory that all planning permission applications are judged in accordance with the personal preference of the individual making the decision is wholly misguided. Much as it may feel as though you’re at the mercy of the moods and whims of another human being, all applications are judged and decided upon in accordance with a strict set of criteria. These include highway safety, overall aesthetic, scale and massing, material choices, existing building restrictions and so much more – all of which are highly specific in terms of what qualifies and what doesn’t. Of course, certain grey areas will always call for the use of common-sense judgement on the part of those making the decision, though again any such judgements made must be justifiable.

Myth – If I’m Turned Down, I’ll Never Know Why

Once perhaps, but these days planning officers must lay out their reasons for refusal and clearly indicate which policies the proposed development contravenes. The process is now transparent, but like all things can still be open to interpretation.

Myth – Once Refused, Always Refused

If your planning permission application is unsuccessful, there are still multiple avenues to explore which makes the idea of giving up one to steer clear of. From the date of the refusal, applicants are able to decide to make alterations to their proposal in order to overcome the reasons for refusal laid out by the planning officer in their decision notice and doing so does not incur any additional application fees. However, if you feel that the application you have made complies with the planning guidelines in your opinion, then you have the right to appeal.

It’s worth noting that all appeals much be launched within six months and not only have a tendency to be costly and difficult to go about, but are rarely successful unless proper advice and representation are sought. In all cases though, refusal of an application doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the road.

Myth – First-Timers Are At a Disadvantage

Technically speaking this isn’t strictly a myth as if you decide to go it alone your very first time, you stand a significantly lower chance of coming out successful. The reason being that there are so many ways and means by which you can give your application an important shot in the arm – none of which you’ll know about if you’re not an expert in the subject.

That’s why it always pays to consider the advice and assistance of a professional property planning service where these kinds of applications represent their daily ‘bread and butter’. This is especially true in instances where an application has previously been declined as it tends to be even more difficult to successfully push it through the second or third time around. If nothing else, seek a free consultation for some important advice on how to progress.

Myth – For Minor Domestic Builds I Needn’t Bother

Last but not least, it is important to ascertain whether your proposed plans, no matter how simple or insignificant, require planning permission to go ahead, as overlooking this is a very bad idea indeed. It’s impossible to know just how many rules you may be breaking without first looking into the subject, which could lead to you not only having to destroy whatever it is you’ve built at your own expense, but also face a heavy fine for good measure.