Wednesday, 6 January 2016

When do I need planning permission?

The Progress Estate is a Conservation Area. This Guide explains to freeholders and tenants the circumstances in which they need to apply for planning permission before making changes to certain external features of their property, including the installation of satellite dishes and solar panels.

While there are doubtless many reasons why people like living on the Progress Estate, a common one is probably its general attractiveness. It is a very early example of a garden city movement design. It has been described ‘as the first and most spectacular of the garden suburbs built by the government during the First World War’. This is why the Estate is a Conservation Area covered by an Article 4 Direction. The effect of an Article 4 Direction is to strengthen Conservation planning laws by restricting any changes to the front or side elevations of those houses within its boundary. It also restricts changes to roofs, windows and front doors. Satellite dishes mounted within view of the front will not gain approval.
For the purposes of this document, there are (in no particular order) three groups of people living on our Estate:
- those who own their own homes
We understand buyers are supposed to be advised of the consequences of an Article 4 Direction prior to the exchange of contracts. However, it is likely that some failed to receive the relevant notification. Amongst those that did, the paperwork might easily have been lost in the general welter of correspondence and documentation that goes with house purchase.
- those living in houses owned by private landlords
Although they may not be planning anything one might generally regard as alterations, residents who rent their property from a private landlord might need to be aware of the regulations relating to satellite dishes and tree lopping or felling. They might also care to ensure their landlords are aware of the Planning regulations as a whole; these people might not have the information about Article 4 Directions either.
- those whose homes are owned by a housing association
As with tenants of private landlords, it may well be that the only issues of concern are those to do with satellite dishes and, possibly, tree lopping or felling.
So when is Planning permission required?
Greenwich Council’s adopted Conservation Area Appraisal makes it clear that planning permission must be obtained before changes are made to the external appearance of a house caused by building, altering, installing or carrying out works to:
• Front or side entrance doors
• Front and flank windows
• Front or side gates, fences or walls 
• Porches
• Garages
• Front or side extensions or additions
• Roofing materials (including the installation of solar (PV) panels)
• Cladding to any part of the exterior
• The whole or substantial demolition of a buildingor structure greater than 4060 cu.ft. (115 cu.metres)
• Felling,cutting back or pruning any tree over 3inches (76 mm) in diameter
• Satellite dishes fronting the highway.
In deciding whether or not to approve planning applications, the Council’s overarching guidelines are that:
• alterations and improvements should harmonise with the existing character of the Estate.
• variations, even small ones, can easily destroy the visual qualities of the conservation area.
• every effort should be made to match the original detailing, materials, colour and proportions, particularly when replacing such features as windows, doors and roofing materials.
The following guidelines apply to specific proposals:
Roofing materials
Any proposed re-roofing must be compatible with the original slate or tile in terms of size, colour and texture.

Doors
Proposals to replace doors should be on a like for like basis, with the objective of replicating the original styles. uPVC is an acceptable substitute for timber but such replacements must respect the visual character of the original timber construction.
Windows
Proposed replacements must be on a like for like basis, replicating the original windows in that particular property.  Generally, timber is the preferred material although where applicants can demonstrate that a good copy of the original design can be achieved, aluminium and uPVC replacements will be considered.  Only side-hung casements are acceptable, as opposed to top hung or pivot windows. All new glazing bars must be fixed externally and should replicate the profile of the original timber design. More information can be found here.



Porches

Proposed porches must respect the fa├žade of the property and should therefore be small in scale with tiles or slates to match the roofing material.  Generally, designs should cantilever from the front wall of the building without requiring supports at ground level.


Fences and Walls
The design of new fences and walls fronting the public highways should match the original designs.  Any significant departure from the original styles of fences or walls is likely to mar the appearance of the street-scene and will therefore be considered unacceptable.  New brickwork must attempt to match the colour and texture of the original bricks and new fences should be treated with a suitable primer or creosote when erected. Walls will not be permitted as replacement for fences.

Satellite dishes
Consent is required for all satellite TV dishes. It is unlikely to be granted for applications to site dishes on front- facing walls, roof slopes or chimneys or anywhere else where they overlook the street or break the roofline. Concealed locations are preferable, using architectural features to screen the dish from public view.
Trees
People wishing to prune, lop or cut down a tree must notify the Planners of their intentions at least six weeks before the work is started stating the location, species and size of the tree and the work proposed.
Solar panels
As at the end of 2011, applications for the installation of solar panels (more correctly described as Photo voltaic, or PV, panels) had been made for two properties on the Estate. Both were declined. Anyone considering installing a system of this nature is strongly recommended to consult the council’s planning department before entering into a contract with a supplier.

Conservation needs to be viewed as a process devised for the greater good of the community as a whole. Our Estate is an attractive place to live and the actions of all of us as individuals impacts upon the desirability of living here for everyone else.
The openness of our Estate means that rubbish tends to drift around in the breeze. It would be much appreciated if residents could pick up any that happens to land between their front doors and the road and place it in the appropriate bin.
This document is copied from a leaflet published by the Progress Residents Association. It is based on an article that first appeared in Making Progress, the Association’s newsletter, in September, 2009.The sketch illustrations are reprinted from Greenwich Council’s publication, Progress Estate Conservation Area: Advice Note.The leaflet has been designed and printed by Hyde South East.





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