Obtaining Planning Permission
We are often asked how easy it is to obtain planning consent for new houses and house extensions in the Weald Of Kent much of which is designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is tightly controlled to prevent unwanted development.
When we design houses in this kind of location, the most important overriding factor is the effect that the building or extension will have on the rural scene. After all it is that rural beauty that we are all keen to preserve.
Many clients are surprised to learn that the overall height and size of a proposed building, and the materials used, can be more important in terms of getting planning than the actual style of the building. We have, for example, obtained planning consent for many contemporary style houses with low-pitched profiles that sit well in the landscape and are possibly less intrusive than their more traditional neighbours.
Another factor is the sustainability of living in the countryside. New-builds in rural areas generate additional traffic, meaning that replacements or adaptations of existing buildings are often viewed more favourably by the planners.
The size of an existing building on the site does generally limit the size of a replacement or extended building, however we have found that using techniques such as low pitch roofs and basements with sunken gardens we can create more space without any detrimental effect on the rural landscape. Overall we find that a well presented planning application is sympathetically received by most planning officers and they see it as an opportunity to approve a well designed building that contributes in the long term to a beautiful landscape.
We prepare planning submissions that not only include all the correct drawings, but also a statement that explains to the planning officer why we think your scheme meets all the planning criteria and is worthy of approval. Our 3D imaging helps with that explanation.
If you live in Tunbridge Wells and want to extend your home, you will be looking for the right professional advice to achieve a design that suits your needs, takes the right design approach and adds value to your property. You will also want advice about whether you need planning consent and if so what will be acceptable to the council.
We are a local practice based in the centre of Tunbridge Wells with 15 years experience of the area and we can help you solve the rubik's cube of these often conflicting requirements.
Tips For Gaining Planning Consent
Planning policy: Discuss planning policies that might constrain your ideas with your Architect and be creative but pragmatic about overcoming any obstacles. Don’t fight planning policy unless you have a well argued case
Design. The key factor will probably not be the style of architecture but the effect that your proposal has on the character of the surroundings. Think about what your proposal will look like from your neighbours gardens and from views further afield that are important
Preserve important features: This can apply to the existing building if it’s historically important, but also to landscape features, especially trees
Sustainability: This can be an elusive concept but you can help by allowing space for cycle storage, improving energy efficiency or even generating your own energy from the sun or wind
Basements: Where the amount of development is restricted for instance in Greenbelt or Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty, consider a basement to create extra space for secondary rooms and storage that would otherwise take up valuable space above ground
Presentation: Discuss the presentation of your scheme with your Architect. You want to present it in the best possible way, but also if there are planning issues to be resolved, address them in the planning documents, don’t ignore them. Make your case well
3D Design: We find that including 3D design images in the planning application really helps to explain your scheme and can highlight design features that resolve perceived problems such as the impact on the surroundings