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Obtaining Planning Permission in Horsham

Having recently helped a Horsham client of mine jump through hoops to get their office extension I wanted to share some simple tips to help you get started with obtaining planning permission. Areas to consider include the environmental impact and local politics (neighbours) as well as the fees involved in applying for planning permission.

Contents
Learn the Rules ....................................................................................................................................... 2 Common Constraints .............................................................................................................................. 3 Local Tree Politics.................................................................................................................................... 4 Public Records / Local Applications ........................................................................................................ 5 South Downs National Park ................................................................................................................ 5 What You Will Need ................................................................................................................................ 6 Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................... 7

Learn the Rules

Every part of the country differs and I am not an expert, hence my focus on my recent experience in Horsham specifically. Generally though, the rules for planning can be unpredictable, open to interpretation and capable of being bent quite dramatically. Unlike building regulations, planning regulations are not hard and fast and this is because planning involves local politics. Therefore your first hurdle is to interpret national and local planning policies by individual planning officers and by committees of elected councillors. The scope for inconsistencies between planners even in one authority is quite high and between different authorities it is huge. So if youre going to get involved in building a house or even extending and refurbishing one, a flexible and pragmatic approach to achieving what you want is going to be helpful. There is a main planning portal which is a good place to start but most importantly you need to get to grips with planning in your local area.

Common Constraints

Once you have got to grips with national and local policies, the most common additional planning constraints if you live in Horsham and plan to build an extension are: Conservation areas Listed buildings Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (A.O. N. B.) Tree preservation orders (TPOs) Article 3 restrictions on permitted development rights and Article 4 Flood risk zones Contaminated land South Downs National Park Protected Species or Ancient Woodland

When your application falls into one of the constraint or policy areas listed above, you may need to provide additional information with your application.

Local Tree Politics

This became quite a focus for us during the planning application recently due to a large tree with routes that had grown into my clients garden despite being on his neighbours land. Having spoken to the neighbour and the council regarding the issue we were asked to seek expert advice from a reputable tree surgeon in Horsham. Although there was a possibility we could remove some of the roots without damaging the tree, we had to prove that this would be the case and that we would have an expert completing the work before our planning application could be considered further. If the routes are damaged, although the trees
may not die immediately they could decline over several years. Once we had our free consultation with the tree surgeon we were assured that it was possible to preserve the tree if the right measures were taken. Working closely with the tree surgeon we were able to protect the tree in question throughout development. I have provided a list of important considerations if you are looking at felling a tree as part of your property development: 1. Whose land is the tree primarily situated on? This can be a grey area particular if this is residential extension work. You will need permission to proceed with any felling from the land owner. 2. Can you work around it? If you can work around felling trees for your development then do. You will not only avoid further paperwork you will be helping the environment. 3. Make sure your tree surgery contractor has the relevant insurance and qualifications The industry standard qualifications include the NPTC certificates of competence in Chainsaw Operations CS30.1 and CS30.2 and Tree climbing and Aerial Rescue, ACTR02 Units 01 and 02 and there are more advanced qualifications that will help if the job is more in depth. With insurance, always ask to see their current Certificate of Insurance for Public Liability and Employers Liability. 4. Is the tree protected by a Tree Preservation Order Your qualified tree surgeon will be able to advise you on how to proceed. 5. Do you live in a Conservation Area? This would mean you need to give notice to the council, so find out the facts first.

Public Records / Local Applications

Horsham District Council publicise planning applications so before you get started have a browse and see if anyone local to you has been successful with a similar application. If they are a close neighbour you could ask for their advice and for the larger property developers you could approach the builders for their experience and anything you should look out for. If this is a residential build there it would be a good idea to get your neighbours on board before you submit your planning application. They will receive a neighbours notice on the planning so it would be best to get them on side early.

South Downs National Park


The South Downs National Park have recently introduced improved pre-application advice. Although this does involve a fee for brand new property builds or larger property developments it is free for residential planning permission.

What You Will Need

Here is a quick checklist on what you will need for your planning application in Horsham, more information can be found on the Horsham District Council website.
1. Application From 1 top copy & 3 copies completed correctly, dated and signed a. Including Certificate of Ownership & Agricultural Holdings Certificate must be completed on the application form b. Refer to the Local List of Requirements, National List of Requirements and Validation Checklists to make sure you have all of the necessary documents and plans required in your application form 2. 4 copies of each plan required 3. Planning application fee A fee is usually required for most applications, although Listed Building consent and some other type of applications do not have one and there are some concessions or free revision options. 4. Please note: no refunds are given Even if you withdraw the application before it is decided.

Conclusion

If you are currently considering making a planning application the good news is that it isnt as daunting as it seems. If you can avoid trees within your planning please do from an environmental perspective and through avoidance of the additional paperwork potentially involved. Please do seek further advice from the council or Southdowns National Park before proceeding. There are plenty of other constraints that may affect development, so I would recommend that before commencing with any planning application or works in Horsham that you contact the planning department on (01403) 215187 or via planning@horsham.gov.uk.