It's that dreaded term. Planning permission. It strikes fear into the hearts of property developers and runs cold down the spine of home owners looking to really make their property feel like their home. It can spell months of red tape, countless meetings, headaches and shattered dreams.
But that's only if it's approached all wrong. Following our guide to planning permission, you will find that it's not as daunting a prospect as some would make you believe (or indeed our first paragraph did!).
So what do you need to know about planning permission?
Well, the first step is to figure out whether you will even need it at all. Your Local Planning Authority (LPA) consider the following three basic factors requisite of permission in most cases:
- A new build
- Major structural changes (extensions, loft conversions, etc.)
- A change in the use of the property (i.e. from a private property to a commercial one)
Each of these will be interpreted by your LPA in a different way, so the kind of permissions that you will require and assessments you will have to go through, will vary from case to case. For the most part industrial properties won't require planning permission from their LPA, though most changes to these sorts of premises will almost certainly require permissions from separate departments. The same goes for the demolition of buildings, although your local authority will have to approve of this separately too...
One type of property that avoids a lot of red tape are buildings of significance and beneficence of the local community. These sorts of properties will often be walked around the traditional routes of planning permission, and instead be fast tracked through schemes like the Community Right To Build.
What are the assessment criteria for planning permission?
The LPA take into account many factors when deciding whether you can make changes to your property. The following is a basic list of the sorts of things that they consider, though they are pretty vague, with each council likely to stipulate different rules for each variable.
- The size of the property
- Citing and appearance of the premises
- Local landscaping and how the works on your property will affect them
- The reason why you are undertaking the development. (turning your house into a pub in a terraced street might not pass through this one!)
- The effect on the local way of life, including the change of natural vistas, or a slowing down of local traffic.
This should give you an idea of what you can expect before you file for planning permission, though of course each council will treat these factors differently, and each build will affect the local environment in its own way!
Most applications are returns (either passed or failed) within 8-13 weeks. If you fail first time you can always reapply having altered your plans, so it's not game over at the first hurdle. However, it's most advisable for you to send off your application a long way in advance of your planned work as you don't want to get caught up in bureaucracy and end up disappointed!
Image by Will Scullin
Five Reasons Heritage Is Important
With many home-owners facing the arduous task of trying to update their heritage property's structure or even make necessary repairs, we often find that our clients rue the fact that their property has been placed under such strict protection.
And whilst we understand that it can be a real chore, heritage is a very important facet of our culture. Here are our top 5 reasons why!
1. Heritage properties are tangible links to our history
With each layer of paint, mark on the floor, jaunty fixing, we have fragments of our history that we can touch and feel!
2. They add character to neighbourhoods
If you've been lucky enough to avoid the tyranny of red brick new builds, then count your blessings. Heritage properties offer something unique and distinctive in comparison to many of the average properties constructed nowadays.
3. Heritage is environmentally friendly
It's common sense. If we're not using energy to tear up properties, then using energy and resources to rebuild them, then we're preserving energy and limiting our carbon footprint! Sure, there's the fact that many heritage properties suffer may not be energy efficient per se, but with the installation of energy efficient windows and doors, this needn't be a concern!
4. Heritage preservation of properties is a big industry!
The heritage movement employs a lot of people to not only run their public body, but also across the board as property guardians, ground staff and so much more. Many heritage sites act as tourist destinations too, bringing money into the economy.
5. It's good for your emotional well-being
Ok, bear with us. But studies show that architectural beauty actually causes the release of endorphins, which make us feel happy and content. So heritage buildings are making the country a happier place!
Have we managed to convince you that heritage is a good thing yet? We hope so!
So What Can You Do To Help British Heritage?
There are many ways that you can get involved with the heritage movement, helping to continue the preservation of history, art and culture.
Memberships to the English Heritage foundation begin at £39 a year which gives you free access to over 400 historical sites, and tickets to events. This money is funnelled back into the foundation, helping protect properties and areas of cultural imporance.
You can also work for the organisation! Get yourself a position as a member of the English heritage work force and help preserve this country's heritage with your own hands! If this isn't possible, there are a wealth of volunteer positions so you can still get involved and help out.
More Info at: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/
Image by Elliott Brown
Quite simply a casement window is an window where the opening part is hinged, most commonly along the internal vertical frame. However, there are so many different kinds that we can find dotted throughout British properties, varied because of the heritage status of a building; the time the windows were installed and where they are located!
It all started back in the latter half of the 18th century, when the stone mullioned window fell out of fashion. Though seen nowadays as a touch of class, stone mullioned windows weren't very adaptable, and in many cases, couldn't open to let in much air. Their stone struts further prevented a great deal of light getting in, and with the housing industry growing, people started wanting something a little more refined.
So along came the hinged window. Small panes of glass separated by thinner glazing bars, the casement style window allowed for a lot more light to enter the property, was less heavy and easier to construct.
As time went on Crown Glass and cylinder sheet became more widely available, replacing the smaller panes of broad sheet. These larger sheets of glass often came with imperfections from the manufacturing process, which at the time were a bit of a blight on the consumer, but nowadays are seen to be a touch of timeless history that new, imperfect glasses can't offer.
Very early casement windows were mostly constructed using iron, with lead used as lattice work across the glass. Over time, this fashion died out and manufacturers started transitioning to timber construction. It was during the Victorian period that we eventually saw a full conversion to using timber, with oak becoming the highly preferred wood type.
For well over a century the casement window remained in its original form, with a structure of six rectangular panes. However as architecture changed, so too did the casement. With the dawning of the Gothic age in the nineteenth century, we saw a shift towards incorporating the instantly recognisable Gothic arch in the uppermost panes, for example.
As the quality of glass available became a lot better, the need for so many sheets and glazing bars became redundant. In the later half of 19th century, we see a lot of casement windows that feature only two panes in each half, with one bar strapped along the middle.
Then, as space in the big cities became more of concern, and we started seeing the town houses that still line our streets today, being erected, the sash window started taking over. Rather than caring about the character, dynamism and beauty of casement windows, with their intricate and varied designs, people wanted a window that was more efficient and ergonomic.
Though we do see properties being installed with casement windows nowadays, a lot of our work is down to replacing or repairing casements in listed properties, where the architectural style of the original needs to be exactly matched. A truly wonderful style of window, that can offer the designer a great deal in the way of inspiration, we hope to see a revival of the casement window in the near future!
Image by Roland Tanglao