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Planning extension or 'commencing' the works ?


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hi all,


Desperate for some advice here.
A dispute with our neighbour on land ownership (which they raised when our surveyor approached them for party wall matters) has brought a lot of delay to our house extension plans - now we are waiting to go to court.  We believe the decision will sway in our favour, but our permission expires in 3 months  :(

Which means our permission is likely to run out, and party wall matters won't be settled (we are terrraced).


Which (we think) leave us 2 options:   Ask for an extension or somehow 'commence the works'.
We emailed the council to explain, they said extensions are not granted as such.  Someone said that is rubbish and we can request one by paying a fee. Which is correct? How do we apply for an extension, and will the neighbour be consulted for this (they didn't object when we initially applied 3 years ago but sure that if their consent is needed we are in for an unpleasant ride).


Our understanding is we can't commence the works by say, digging foundations because we are a small terraced property and need a party wall agreement.

Is there any other way we can commence the works? If we lift off the patio slabs where the extension will go, does that constitute commencement?


ps: there were no specific conditions laid out for the permission other than re. materials used and potential party wall matters to consider.


many thanks

Edited by Cookiecutter
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I think a fresh planning application may be the way I am afraid.  I don't think there is any mechanism for extending the period.


Another option could be reduce dig the footprint and to dig and pour the footing at the end.  You may need to cast in some rebar to connect up later to the footings which require the PWA.

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Thanks for your reply.

I did find link somewhere saying there is such a thing as applying for an extension ... perhaps I will contact the council again and seek clarification.

I'm sorry, I have no idea what you mean by the other option, could you explain in lay man's terms lol ?

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I think they mean you could start the foundations on the other side of the building which doesn't affect the party wall. Have you got  Building Control Full Plans? If you haven't thought about this,  you could start on a Building Notice.

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Alas....... we are terraced in the middle of 2 properties.... party wall on each side to be sorted... one was done but expired because of the dispute on the other side ?


also, I thought that if the foundations are within 3 metres of either property then a party wall agreement is needed [sigh]

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There is no penalty for not complying with the Party Wall Act but if a neighbour decided that a hair line crack was your fault and took you to court the judge might look less favourably on you.


7 hours ago, Cookiecutter said:

How do we apply for an extension, and will the neighbour be consulted for this (they didn't object when we initially applied 3 years ago but sure that if their consent is needed we are in for an unpleasant ride).


Read this.. 




You can't apply for an extension anymore. You can only resubmit. Yes the planners will consult the neighbour but that shouldn't matter. If the proposal was acceptable in planning terms last time it should be acceptable this time unless...


  • Planning policy has changed. 
  • You make changes that make it unacceptable.
  • Someone raises a valid planing issue that wasn't considered last time around. 


Note that only valid planning reasons are counted. The fact that a neighbour doesn't like something or it devalues his house are not valid reasons and should be ignored by the planners. Loss of privacy or light might be a valid objection. Ive been at a planning committee meeting where some daft members have objected on grounds that don't count. They voted down an application and the poor planning officer then has to think up valid reasons to put in the actual rejection letter. If he didn't do that and put down invalid reasons the applicant could appeal any might well win. 







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If you decide to start...


Normally they like you to have dug and filled foundation trenches to secure your PP but officially I think anything that counts as development would do. Perhaps ask your planning officer if you can get hold of him.


Remember you may have to get some planning conditions discharged first. Read the planning grant to see what they are. Typically you might need to get brick samples approved or ??


You may also need to get Building Control Approval to start. This might involve submit an application with drawings and the fee and waiting. The BCO might take a month or longer. Try and avoid complaining . It would be better to wait a few weeks and ask politely if you can start digging foundations while he is reviewing the application rather than pushing him to approve the whole package.


One option might be to dig foundation trenches more than 3m away from the neighbours and insert rebar into the dirt at the ends of the trench to reinforce joints. Discuss with your SE if you have one.


I don't believe they can make you get a PWA agreement before you start.


Is the CIL an issue in your area? If so you also have to claim the exemption before starting work.

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42 minutes ago, Faz said:

Demolition counts as commencement works - could clearing the patio be considered demolition?  Possibly.

I did this on our site, demolished an old Nissan hut and informed BC to say work had started, perhaps have a quiet word with your BC officer, he might play ball.

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