As we know like many practices across the UK - local authorities are overwhelmed with the volume of applications being submitted with some local authorities reporting increases of between 30-70% it’s no wonder they are feeling the strain!
This results in applications being significantly delayed as local authorities battle their way through the seas of applications.
Over the past 12 months we have had discussions with lots of clients who have been tempted to take planning into their own hands due to how quickly projects need to move and how significantly delayed local authorities are.
Although how lucrative tempting fate could be the consequences are very significant and no one wants a nasty surprise even if it is nearly Halloween!
The common statement we receive from clients who have been tempted include ‘We are in the middle of nowhere’ and ‘nobody would ever know or say anything‘.
To which we reply it’s not ‘If Councils become aware’ its ‘When they become aware’. Under UK law the onus is on the Applicant to prove when the works was done and not the local authority. Making it extremely difficult to prove if an applicant becomes under investigation and has carried out works previously.
Planning Contravention Notices:
Planning Contravention Notices are on the rise with some local authorities reporting increases of over 30%!
As more people are spending more time at home they become more aware of the surroundings and what is going on around them which leads to reports being made to local authorities for investigation.
What is a planning contravention notice?
A Planning Contravention Notice enables a local authority to request detailed information about suspected breaches of planning control.
Knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information in response to a Planning Contravention Notice is an offence with substantial fines of up to £5,000. The Local Authority can also request for a Confiscation Order to recover other money from you if you have profited from the breach of planning control.
Applicants have up to 21 days to respond to a Planning Contravention Notice. It is also an offence to submit a response after a deadline.
Listed Building - Spending Time.
Listed Buildings are a completely different game. Any alterations to a listed building without consent from the local authority is not only a breach of civil law but is also a criminal matter. Councils will disregard any excuse including 'not knowing'.
Un-authorised works to a listed building can carry an unlimited fine and 2 years imprisonment.
We always advise clients that working on listed buildings is 'a labour of love' and can often be frustrating due to the hoops applicants have to jump through, however very rewarding when they can see the finishing line in sight!
Back to Square One.
If you loose your right to appeal the local authority has the right to serve notice on you to return the land or property back to what it was previously at your expense.
The biggest factor to consider is also the validity of your insurance policies. Many insurance brokers will include clauses that you must have all the paperwork in order for your policy to be valid if the worst was to happen.
Research conducted by the Co-Op Insurance has identified over 57% of UK homeowners have had some extensive work done on their property. Almost 20% said they had gone ahead with loft conversions or extensions without knowing if they needed to get permission from their local council.
14% of those surveyed stated it didn't cross their mind or purposely ignored the rules fearing that it would cost them more time or money.
Short term pain for long term gain.
So whilst taking the law into your own hands can be very tempting at IC Architecture Studio we categorically advise that it is not worth the risk and as the saying goes short term pain for long term gain (even if the short term is longer than usual!)
The Good News? | Permitted Development Options.
The good news planning doesn't have to be a head ache! Lots of work (subject to some restrictions including location and building type) can be done under permitted development rights.
Permitted Development rights allow owners to carry out works under a less stringent process than a formal planning application. Applicants can apply for a certificate of lawful development prior to commencement of the works to allow applicants the reassurance that their proposed development is ring fenced from the local authority and they are not going to experience any issues further down the line.
How we can help?
ICI Architecture Studio is here for you every step of the way. So if you are looking to start your project completely hassle and stress free - we offer a FREE initial consultation as standard to help get your project from the ground up!
We also provide assistance to clients who have gone full steam ahead or have been served Planning Contravention Notices.
Email email@example.com or call 01260 602 005