Insights December 27, 2022

Is a homeowner pre-application worth it?

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As a homeowner with an interest in creating a unique home that is both energy efficient and beautiful, you may be anticipating the need to pursue Planning consent. And if so, you may be asking is a homeowner pre-applications worth it?

The Planning Portal maintains the merits of seeking pre-application advice. However local authorities, particularly in London, might have separate routes for different applicants: one process for developers – whether minor or major applications – and another for homeowners. This difference is of significance particularly at the end of 2022 when the UK is facing significant housing shortages and a new “moral, social and economic programme” via the Department of Levelling-up, Housing and Communities. In the face of this priority, it could be guessed that resource-strapped Planning departments might put an emphasis on reviewing certain applications over others. 

A number of our own recent homeowner projects at different London local authorities have had months with a lack of response and in some cases even had delay tactics. Some of our architectural peers are offering similar stories. Urbanista Architecture, who like us at one point had promoted the pre-application process, is now also highlighting present conditions:

Unfortunately, the strain on local authorities is even present for applicants looking to create new developments. Planning consultants and architects of these larger developments are both reporting similar situations:

All this doesn’t mean that a pre-application should be ruled out. However, it should be framed against this context and considered alongside alternative routes to achieve Planning consent. One of our approaches has been to take a design proposal and separate it into a less contentious application and a more ambitious one.

We understand that each project has to be evaluated on its own merits particularly as every household is different. Use the form below to get in touch and we can give you our advice for your own project.

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