Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Unilaterally Extending Your Garden Could Land You in the Rough

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Unilaterally Extending Your Garden Could Land You in the Rough

Article excerpt

It regularly happens that people feel that their garden is too small. There is a tempting area of land adjoining which it would be lovely to include within the garden area, to domesticate, plant attractive trees, bushes and flowers and place garden furniture. Great.

However, does that count as development? Is planning permission required?

Garden extensions are often sought when the existing garden adjoins an area of countryside. If a garden was extended into the countryside then usually a change of use happens. A change of use is development having regard to the definition of development set out in the Planning Act.

While there was consultation on the idea of giving permitted development rights for gardens some years ago, these were not introduced and there are no permitted development rights to extend gardens. So planning permission is required.

This is sought initially from the local planning authority.

An application would be assessed against the relevant policies in the Development Plan. The normal reason voiced against garden extensions, and the principal reason why permitted development rights were not introduced some years ago, is that they are often said to have an adverse affect on the character and appearance of the countryside by changing its rugged character and appearance.

That said, there can be instances, where a garden extension could be acceptable. It depends in part on the relevant policy tests that apply. Preparing justifications is an intrinsic part of our day-to-day work. What happens if you did not know that planning permission was required and you have extended your garden without the necessary permission?

This is a relatively frequent breach of planning control.

The first contact is likely to be from the local authority Planning Department when they become aware of the breach of planning control. A letter generally advises that there has been a breach and suggests that a planning application be submitted.

It is usually the case that it is worth making a planning application at that point. A number of other things need to be checked, including for example how long the garden extension has existed ( after a certain time unauthorised developments become immune from enforcement action. …

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