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My neighbour got planning approval for an extension; I want to do the same as them?
When the planning dept looks at each individual case the proposals are judged on their own merits. Planning policies for a local authorities change over time. For what your neighbour could have done then you can't do now because planning policy may changed.

What is Planning permission?
If your proposals involve House Extension, external house alterations, house conversion to flats you will require planning permission. Planning Applications are decided by a local planning committee. Planning guidelines for proposals can differ between councils. Planning applications can take 8-10 weeks to get processed whether the proposals are small or large in scale.

What are Permitted development rights?
Not all projects require planning permission. If your property is a single family dwelling has not had any extensions, is not a listed building or in a conservation area then generally you will have permitted development rights. Before you start works it is always best to check with your local authority first. It is possible to submit drawings to the local authority so that they can issue a certificate of Lawfulness for the proposed work. This certificate can be invaluable when selling or remortgaging your home.

Conservation Areas and The Dulwich Estate
If you live in either
a conservation area or the Dulwich Estate the restrictions on the type of extensions you can do are more limited. It is essential to work closely with your local authoritie to achieve a successful outcome to your planning application. Transform Architecture prides it self in being able to provide such a service and has achieved a very high success rate with this type of planning application.

What are the Building Regulations?
When a Home Extension, loft conversion is designed it needs to comply with Building Regulations which are a set of minimum standards for design and health and safety in Building works. These standards are enforced by your councils building control department. These standards are for: Structure, Drainage, Plumbing, Ventilation, Materials, Insulation, means of escape for fire, etc.

Making a Building Regulation application.
In domestic projects you have one of two routes to make a building Regulation application:

1) Full Plans application which involves submitting detailed drawings and structural calculations which is approved before you start works.

2) Building Notice application which involves submitting a building notices when starting on site and liaising with building control officer who checks and approves works at regular intervals.

What is the Party Wall Act?
If you are thinking of altering or extending your home? This Act may apply to you. The Party Act came into force on 1 July 1996 and applies throughout England and Wales. It provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to Party Walls, Boundary Walls and Excavations near Neighbouring Buildings. Anyone intending to carry out work of the kinds described in the Act must give Adjoining Owners notice of their intentions.

What is 'The Right to Light'?

One of the most commonly misunderstood legal issues relating to property is the `right to light'. Your neighbour may attempt to block your plans to extend your home by claiming they have a legal `right to light' to one or more of their windows. There is such a thing as a legally established right to light, usually established automatically `by prescription' after 20 years, however, it is only relevant in limited circumstances. A right to light is a type of easement, like a right of way, and overrides any planning permission you might have and your Permitted Development Rights. It can in theory, therefore, prevent you from blocking out a neighbour's window.

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