Weekend close-down for the Planning Portal so they can charge us £20 to submit planning applications online

We won’t be in the office on Saturday, this weekend, submitting planning applications for clients, as we sometimes do.  The Planning Portal will be unavailable to us from this evening until Monday morning.

The Portal will now send applications and payments to the relevant local authorities together, as soon as they have confirmed successful payment.  Previously, our clients could ring/pop in/send a cheque to the Council to pay their application fee.  Sometimes that fee made it straight to the planning department to be married-up with the pending application we submitted via the Portal; sometimes it didn’t.  But that didn’t happen very often

There will be a per-application charge for the service ( £16.67+VAT for any application which attracts a fee).  Applications where no fee is payable will be sent directly to the local authority with no service charge applied.

C2C Planning Consultants will not be absorbing this Portal fee and will be passing it on to our clients.  So, in addition to the increase in fees in January this year, the cost of submitting planning applications has increased once again!

The Planning Guarantee

Thank you to my colleagues at TLT for telling me in their very helpful bulletins that a recent High Court decision has clarified the “rules” for getting a client’s planning application fee back under the Planning Guarantee.

We have twice successfully applied to a couple of LPA’s to get our client’s application fee back (one being £13k!) and we would have to confess that one of them wouldn’t have comfortably sat with the outcome of the Provectus Remediation Ltd v Derbyshire County Council in its judgment of 8 June 2018.

The planning guarantee is the government’s policy that no application should spend more than a year with decision-makers, including any appeal. In practice this means that planning applications should be decided in no more than 26 weeks, allowing a similar period for any appeal. If a valid application is already being considered and it becomes clear that more time than the statutory period is genuinely required, then the local planning authority should ask the applicant to consider an agreed extension of time. Any such agreement must be in writing and set out the timescale within which a decision is expected.

The High Court decision makes clear that no refund of planning application fees will be due where:

  1. an extended deadline for determination of the application has been agreed in writing; and
  2. that extended deadline does beyond the 26-week period from submission of the application, after which a refund is normally due; even if the LPA fails to determine the application by the extended deadline.

We always think carefully when considering whether to agree to an extended determination period and have the 26 weeks period in mind.

Our colleagues at TLT expect the High Court decision to be clarified by further caselaw as the judge’s unfortunate choice of language leaves uncertain the position where an extension to the statutory period for determination is agreed but that extension does not exceed the 26-week refund period. Until such times as it is clarified, expert legal advice should be sought to avoid inadvertently giving up such a right.

Prior Notification approved under Class O (offices to residential) in Exeter

C2C Planning Consultants have assisted with the successful submission of a prior notification application to Exeter City Council for the conversion of a small block of offices in a residential part of Exeter to 5 apartments.

As Class O does not allow for external alterations, such as the removal of the garage door in the photo above, a tandem planning application was submitted for the external alterations required to better facilitate the conversion.

Permission was granted for both and we have a happy client!

World Cup Fever (apparently)

As we embark on this tournament, I think it is safe to say that “football fever” isn’t exactly gripping England.  Maybe the recent anti-plastic war is weighing heavily on motorists who haven’t put flags in windows, only for them to be scattered alongside the road when you get over 30mph.

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That said, the BBC is reporting that  “a self-professed “mad football fan” has draped a huge flag across the front of his house to cheer on England in the World Cup.  John Jupp, from Blyton, Lincolnshire, said the flag measures 1,250 sq ft (116 sq m) in size and completely covers the front of his house.”

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Now, I hate to be the dual nationality Party Pooper on your English parade Mr Jupp, but your flag doesn’t benefit from deemed advertisement consent!  You are going to need permission for that!

Still, by the time the Council’s enforcement team come knocking, it might be all over…it is now!

Good luck England!

10 years and still counting…

The “On this Day” feature on Facebook is an interesting start to my day, most days.  A quick look at what I did on this day over the last 10 years of so stirs memories of good times and sometimes I have no idea what I was talking about!

For example, on the 6th April 2016 I was on holiday on the Amalfi Coast, I changed my name back to Lyle on this day 8 years ago and I wrote “guess who’s back….damn it!!” 10 years ago (George Clooney was stalking me, obviously!)

It is also 10 years ago that I left Foot Anstey, spent a month in New Zealand and came back to start this practice with bright eyes and a bushy tail.  The rest, as they say, is history!

“TRADITIONAL GIFT: Tin or Aluminium is the traditional present associated with the 10th wedding anniversary. … MODERN GIFT: Diamonds have become the modern present associated with the 10th wedding anniversary. Diamond gifts are obviously more expensive than the traditional tin or aluminium presents.”

Thought you were running out of time to submit that Class B8 building to a dwelling application?

Think again!

This morning the Housing Minister announced that to further support housing delivery, applicants will have a further year in which to benefit from the temporary permitted development right for the change of use of buildings used for storage and distribution to residential use. The right will be extended by a year until 10 June 2019.

Contact us to get started on your Prior Notification application.

Hit the 3 dwelling buffer with your Class Q conversions? Think again – look for up to 5!

The Housing Minister announced this morning that the General Permitted Development Order will be changed on the 6th April (only for a year) to allow the conversion of agricultural buildings for;

  • up to 3 larger homes within a maximum of 465 square metres or
  • up to 5 smaller homes each no larger than 100 square metres or
  • a mix of both, within a total of no more than 5 homes, of which no more than 3 may be larger homes.

So, if you have previously only been able to develop up to the previous 3 dwelling limit, give us a call to discuss how you might be able to benefit from this temporary extension for dwellings from agricultural buildings.  Time is of the essence!

What a start to 2018!

As a small business in today’s almost 24 hr society it is sometimes impossible to retreat from the technological perks that assist us in the working week.  When we are enjoying time with friends and family over the Christmas period, taking a photo of the “Game of Life” battle at the dining room table, an email notification pops up on the phone.  That little red circle is frustratingly difficult to ignore for the rest of the holiday so, you open your email app and, there it is, an email from the Planning Inspectorate…

You know by the subject line that it is the appeal decision you have been waiting for.  Do you or don’t you – open it, that is.

You open it.

You scan for the magic words.

APPEAL ALLOWED!

You open the cost award decision.

You scan for the magic words.

FULL AWARD OF COSTS GRANTED!

What a start to 2018 for our client, his bank balance and C2C Planning Consultants!

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Talk to us about your Game of Life strategy where it involves property development.

(P.S.  I won, but I lost at Game of Life.  I was first to the winning post but not rich enough.  Life imitates art?)

Christmas and New Year Opening Times

The C2C Planning Consultants office will be closed on 21st December until 2nd January 2018 while we enjoy the company of our friends and family over the festive period.

We appreciate that this might be the time of year when you are thinking about that kitchen extension for Christmas catering/parties next year, the teenage/granny annex at the bottom of the garden or the plan to move on to warmer climes!  We might not be at the end of the phone but contact us via the contact page and we might be able to respond while others are snoozing on the sofa!

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!