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Bad planning

New research reveals almost 40,000 retrospective planning applications have been made in the past three years – and one in eight have been refused.

Bad planning

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Surge in planning permission requests

Surge in planning permission requests

Rising house prices and the high cost of moving has led many people to improve or extend their home rather than choosing to buy a larger property. So, it’s no surprise that there’s been a surge in the number of planning applications in recent years. Yet it appears that thousands of UK homeowners have decided simply to push on with their development plans without applying for permission. But if a neighbour reports the development to the local council, or the homeowner decides to sell up and the surveyor starts asking questions, gung-ho home-extenders could find themselves in a tricky situation.

Rejection can lead to demolition

Rejection can lead to demolition

There are serious risks to building an extension or starting any major home improvement project without first checking whether you need planning permission. If the local council finds out that a development has gone ahead without permission, they’ll usually request that the homeowner apply retrospectively. And if permission is denied, the council can request that the new construction is demolished. Yet despite this risk, almost 40,000 retrospective planning applications have been filed for developments either started or completed in the last three years.

High rejection rate

High rejection rate

Of these 40,000 applications, around one in eight have been rejected on grounds which include the development being out of character (28%), loss of privacy (10%), highway safety (7%), overdevelopment (5%) and impact on nature (3%). The success rate of retrospective planning applications varies across the country. Wales has the highest refusal rate, with 28% of retrospective applications being denied, while in London 21% of post-development applications were knocked back. And in the New Forest region of Hampshire, a whopping 92% of retrospective planning applications were rejected. So, the message is clear, if you’re considering any kind of major home improvement project, check whether you need planning permission before you proceed.

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