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Indy

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    Self build novice
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    Surrey

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  1. Well... we had our decision back today and it's what we feared. Both the appeal and costs awards have been rejected. I wasn't overly concerned with the costs award but the officer reviewing the application seems to have taken the council's side for almost every point that we flagged in our appeal. There are some concessions made where the 'contrived and incoherent' roof design was forced upon us by the LPA and then ultimately used to refuse our application - but that was swept away in the end as we 'accepted' the LPAs advice and therefore made a change to the design and it can only be considered as it was finally presented. Not sure where it leaves us now...
  2. Exactly this. There is virtually no impact to the case officer if you do appeal. What happens is that your appeal application goes into a 3m validation window, after which it usually takes between 6 and 9m for a decision to be taken. The only impact I see is when the LPA has to respond to the appeal and its usually a templated response that can be thrown together in less than a day from their side. If you win, no skin off their nose but they can tell their superiors that they tried to fight it. Impact on your life on the other hand is almost up to a year of waiting.
  3. Ours are along similar lines: Appeal filed: 28 August 2023 Start date: 02 Feb 2024 Questionnaire due: 09 Feb 2024 Statements due: 08 Mar 2024 Interested party comments due: 08 Mar 2024 Appellant/LPA Final comments due: 26 Mar 2024 Planning Inspector Site visit: 28 May 2024 Decision now due as there's nothing else we can do. There was a long waiting period between August and Feb where there was literally nothing we could do - no chasing up or trying to get information. I got told off by my architect for sending a chaser email too many to the Planning Inspectorate and their response was basically that we're overwhelmed, don't contact us again and we can't tell you anything. In the meantime, we've had the case officer assigned to our case change 3 times (which inevitably means more time as each officer needs to acquaint themselves with the details of the case). In the end, it may turn out to be a pyrrhic victory due to the amount of time it's taken and how much life has moved on since the time we submitted the appeal. Still hanging in there though...
  4. I posted a thread elsewhere on the forum and the exact same thing happened to us. Our case office kept telling us everything was on track and due to be approved, and then on the day the decision was due - his line manager overruled him and recommended refusal. While he was open to discussing how we could tweak the application to make it more compliant - that didn't help as we'd spent over 6m giving in to their demands and they still weren't happy. My architect recommended taking the refusal so we could appeal. We then submitted a separate planning application which was basically what the council wanted and it was granted. Do not underestimate the amount of time an appeal takes though. You may or may not win, and ours has been going on for over 9m now. I'd like to believe it should be done in the next month or so but I've had my hopes dashed before...
  5. Thanks for the replies everyone. Discussing with the architect and we explored the idea of building a more permanent structure before the building is demolished by using PD rights. It's something we could do, though would be very small and internally not much different to a caravan in terms of layout as we need to fit at least 2 bedrooms (1 for us, 1 for the kids), living/diner/kitchen and a shower/toilet in there. Could be repurposed into a gym/office block or granny annexe once the main house is done. Easier option is to drive in the static caravan and either chop it up afterwards (going by the comments) or try and convert to something more useful? Not sure how the structure of these lends itself to long term use and how 'convertible' they are.
  6. Starting to think what we're going to do during the self build process and one of the options is a static caravan. Having talked to the architect, while this would be doable planning wise, I wanted to understand what people do with these after the build is complete. Our plot is long and narrow(ish) with another garden at the base and houses on either side. My proposed plan would look something like this: 1. Demolish existing house and clear access 2. Lay utilities like clean water, waste water and electricity connections to bottom of the garden 3. Place 2/3 bed caravan at the bottom of the garden 4. Build house with a ~1m gap left on each side 5. Obviously the gap would be too narrow to remove the static caravan afterwards What are my options at the end of the project - apart from dismantle and scrap? Can you get cranes that would be long enough to pick up the static caravan and lift over the newly built house? Access from the other ends or the sides would be a no/go as there other houses and gardens. A mobile tourer has been recommended as an alternative but this would have the same issues in terms of removal if we put it at the base of the garden. Putting it at the front would mean blocking up access to the site and also living while active work was happening there - with 2 young kids so keeping them out of harms way would be a challenge!
  7. Missed this one yesterday. #3 - if this is a new build, would a soil survey not be needed? The plot is in an area with London Clay, so I assumed some sort of checks would be needed to understand how to build the right foundation for it? #7 - Noted. The plan is to get all the connections moved to a box on the edge of the property and run ducting from there to the main house. Is this something I do with the utility companies directly or does the builder I instruct deal with this (apologies if this is a naive question - it is my first time at doing anything like this)?
  8. Not yet as we aren’t fully happy with the planning that was granted. The appeal for the design we want to build hasn’t yet been decided yet so we’re holding off. Saying that, the planning conditions are likely to be very similar. So we could make a start on getting the info together - lots about tree protection measures and materials to be used.
  9. Yes, applied at the same time as planning was applied for.
  10. Some of you may have followed my other thread about the battles with planning permission - that are ongoing still as we come up to the ~3y mark in trying to get permission to build something we like. I'm now trying to change mindset from planning battles to actually building - even it may be a compromised version of the vision we wanted. All of the research I did about 2+ years ago has completely vanished from my memory banks so starting this thread to get myself back on track. What are the steps after planning is granted to actually getting the build started - given that we need to demolish the current bungalow and start from scratch? My limited list so far: 1. Instruct architect to do technical drawings and specs for door/windows 2. Engage structural engineer 3. Soil surveys - though architect says not needed as we're not refurbing and starting from scratch 4. Start the tender process based on technical drawings 5. Choose from a list of 3-4 builders 6. Demolish building 7. Get electrics, gas and water connections moved to a box at the edge of the property 8. Contact broadband provider to lay fibre to the property - is this a thing? 7. Lay foundations and start building I'm sure there are a million things I'm missing so would love to get some help.
  11. Some gems from our planning engagement: The planner forcing us to put a crown roof in the design despite strong objections from the architect and myself. Gave in despite increased cost and build complexity. Then turning around and using the crown roof as one of the reasons for refusal! Asking us to lower the ridge height initially which we did reluctantly. A couple of months telling us to increase the height to be higher than what we'd originally asked for and then approving that - never did understand that one! Telling us constantly throughout our Application #2 that the design was fine, had been reviewed and we had to wait for the consultation period to expire before we'd get it in writing. Then on the day we were expecting formal approval - telling us it was going to be refused and did we want to change the design and resubmit? Basically the planner getting overruled when he presented his case to the Team Lead, who needed to sign it off and obviously wouldn't. For application #3, insistence that we needed to get updated comments from all parties including the arboricultural officer that the planner uses - despite there being no changes to the application on that front when it was considered as part of application #2. And I mean absolutely identical in terms of tree impact! Waiting to hear back on Application #3 till the last day published on the application page, not doing so after 5pm. I then sent an email to enquire what happened and got an out of office. Escalated to the team lead and was basically told no one would be looking at it while our officer was away on leave, so we had no option but to wait. The LPA ignoring their SPD published on their website indicating that a high weight should be placed on high quality design. My architect took direct inputs from that document in our revised application to make it as smooth as possible and the LPA basically ignored it. Telling us that we were not allowed to extend beyond 3m from the current property boundary. We had to argue that this guideline comes from PD rights, and not when reviewing full planning applications that should be evaluated on the overall merit. Didn't work - forced us to scale the size of the property back. Weird interpretation of the 45deg light/shadowing rules which meant that we had very specific endpoints both at the front and end of the property, boxing us in to a very specific size - despite our model showing that we fully complied to the national guidelines. Gave up arguing this in the end to the LPAs own and incorrect interpretation.
  12. Following a couple of posts in other threads on the forum – this is the first time I’m actively posting after almost a year or so away. I guess this post is mainly going to be a summary of what’s happened in all that time and mainly acts as catharsis for me as it’s been a very up/down journey since we started the whole process in Aug 2021. Application #1 As some of the members may remember, our planning application went in Mar 2022 after we started the design in Aug 2021. This was outright denied by the LPA with no engagement at all, no clarifications sought, no comments invited by our architect and planning consultant. Applied in Mar 2022 and denied in Aug 2022. 1 year from starting the process. Very disappointed as we didn’t know until the day of the refusal being received which way the planner was leaning. Application #2 Picked myself up after a couple of weeks of moping, engaged with the architect again and decided to go in for pre-app. Booked a slot in Dec 2022 just before Christmas and went through 3 options wth the planning officer: Option A – Plan that we presented and was refused. Too big and bulky and too contemporary. Option B – Halfway house between what we wanted and what the council wanted. Option C – tamest design, basically a new build dormer bungalow that the LPA wanted us to build to retain ‘aesthetics’ Went back and forth on the options and both parties (me, architect, chartered planner AND the planning officer on the other side) agreed that Option B with some tweaks would be acceptable. Worked the design based on their inputs, got the new ecology/tree/bat surveys done and submitted in Mar 2022. Decent engagement through the application (as we had paid for the pre-app, which seemed to unlock access to the Planning officer) – major rework throughout the consultation period and were given a verbal agreement that our revised design was acceptable. They needed to run a 4w consultation again in the middle of app – which we agreed to. On the day that we were due to hear back with a rubber stamping of the application – complete gut punch, it was refused completely. The reason was basically the LPA team leader overruling the planning officer’s advice and telling us that Option C would be the only option acceptable. We asked for them to refuse so we could appeal. This finally arrived in Jul 2023. 2years in with no next steps clear. Application #3 3. Decided to appeal the refused application as architect + planner thought we had a very strong case to appeal with costs. Submitted in Aug 2023 and still waiting to hear back on what’s going to happen. Been 2m since the application went in and it hasn’t been validated as yet by the Planning Inspectorate. Could be another 6-8m before we hear leading us well into Q2 2024. Application #4 In the meantime, we submitted Option C drawings to the council to get them approved anyway for the sake of a £500 application fee. This was done and came back last week so in theory we do have plans approved on something my wife and I both dislike. Summary: • 2 years and 4m in – we have approval to build a rather boring dormer bungalow replacement. • No idea on whether the slightly more contemporary design we want to build will be approved – won’t find out for another 6m or so. • Realistically, earliest time we’d be able to start building based on whether we win the appeal or not would be summer 2024 – 3y after getting the plot. In the meantime, life and the world has moved on. The primary driver for doing this was for schools for the kids – and the fact that its been delayed so long means they’ve started school locally where we are already. This massively reduces the drive to move as it would mean disruption to their academic calendar and the 7+ prep exams that the older one would be preparing for. Engagement from the council made it clear that they’re not interested in high quality contemporary design – all they want is to cling to an aesthetic from 50-70y ago, and any risky decisions should be taken by the Planning Inspectorate rather than the LPA itself. Cost of borrowing and building has gone through the roof – really putting the viability of the whole thing into question. Do I really want to borrow at 6% rather than 2% (realistically higher as self build mortgages are riskier) to move to a place where the council don’t want us, when it would cause so much disruption to our personal lives? Also, do I really want to invest so much right now given that end prices have stalled/crashed so the break even may not even be possible? Like I said – there’s not much point to this point apart from summarising what’s happened over the last 2 and bit years and I can see why people are put off on ever taking on a self build. The whole planning system is broken, understaffed and not fit for purpose. All this talk of building our way out of the problem blah blah blah I see is complete and utter tosh. We have a system that bottlenecks any such endeavours and it doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.
  13. It wasn't s106 part that was confusing - my point was more focussed on whether land prices will go down or not really.
  14. I agree with the points made above though the use case drastically reduces to those that have massive cash reserves and can finance purely out of savings. Borrowing at current IRs makes little sense as there is no light at the end of the tunnel - i.e. complete the development and then remortgage to a domestic product at reduced rates. There is no concept of reduced rates at least for the foreseeable future and long term predictions are all around 4-5%. I'm not sure I fully agree that land prices won't come down as a result. For very old and large landowners with little borrowing - sure, they can afford to wait it out and see what happens. For anyone who bought in the last 2-5y, their financials won't stack up anymore and I'm guessing more of these plots with PP will start to hit the market.
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