A journey through the planning portal

The following account details the long road travelled in order to make the trek from starting a planning application to submission and eventual decision.

Anyone in the UK who wants to make major structural changes to their property must seek the permission from the relevant local planning authority or if the change is marginal on whether it requires official signoff then a Certificate of Lawful Development should be applied for.

We had a project to convert a tired lawned and tarmac front garden into a cobblestoned drive. Because this involved converting some of the garden to hardstand we decided to get a Certificate of Lawful Development. We were fairly confident this would be approved as the garden sloped down towards the house and not onto the public highway.

To keep the rain runoff that collects on the drive and roof within the curtilage of the property we decided it needed a channel drain that would then collect into a soak-away installed underneath the drive.

We created the plans to a scale of 1 to 100 – detail elevations and floor plans are normally drawn to a scale of 1 to 100 or 1 to 50.

Plans detailing proposed alterations
Plans detailing proposed alterations

We also created some 3D representations to enable the finished product to be easily visualised although this is not a requirement of the application.

3D Render
3D render of proposed alterations to front garden

A location and block plan were purchased from https://www.requestaplan.co.uk/?referral=PPQ These are normally required for any form of planning application and can be obtained from a number of sources.

The first port of call was to create the application through the planning portal  https://www.planningportal.co.uk/. This involves filling in a form and attaching the relevant documents to the application.

Planning Portal Appllications
The application management option on the Planning Portal website

Once the application form has been correctly filled in and all the relevant documents attached then the fee has to be paid and the application can then be submitted. We submitted our application on the 16th of August 2021.

The application is then passed by the planning portal to the relevant Local Planning Authority (LPA) which in our case was East Herts. https://publicaccess.eastherts.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=simple&searchType=Application

With all the hard work done it’s now time to sit back and allow the planning process to take it’s course. Once validated, which normally occurs fairly quickly, the application gets assigned to a planning officer.

If the officer has any questions he will normally make contact by email to clarify areas of concern or ambiguity. In our case the officer contacted us on the 24th of December 2021 and wanted to qualify the details for the soakaway and also get us to change the description to include the fact that we were changing the border division from an edging board to a 60cm high post and rail fence.

We replied by return and got the decision notice through awarding the Lawful Certificate of Development (LCD) on the 14th of March 2022. So in all the process took 7 months although normally I would expect this time to be shorter.

Building Control https://buildingcontrol.planningportal.co.uk/ will normally need to be informed of any works and a Building control application made so that the conformity to code can be monitored which we will have to undertake before we start the works.

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