Islington planning application
RBKC reveals all in major change to Pre-Application Policy
Royal Borough's planners' advice to be made public
As part of its commitment to transparency the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has announced that from March 2016 it will routinely publish any advice planning officers, or the Architectural Appraisal Panel, has given to an applicant about a development proposal before the application was made. The Council is thought to be the first in the country to open its files in this way.
The Council offers a popular advice service (www.rbkc.gov.uk/advice) to those who are considering making a planning application. The advice is generally confidential between the Council and the customer, but can be published following a request under the Freedom of Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations once a related planning application is made. The advice will now be published automatically once a planning application is made without someone having to make a request under that legislation.
At a Planning Committee meeting on 14 October 2014 Kensington & Chelsea Councillors instructed planning officers to accord the new basement policy greater weight as emerging policy in determining planning applications for subterranean developments. As a result applications for subterranean developments are not being determined until the decision letter on the new policy is received from the Planning Inspectorate. Only those applications which do not meet the requirements of the current policy and the new revised policy are being determined and refused.
Update on RBKC Basement Policy
Kensington & Chelsea Council submitted its draft policy on basement development to the Secretary of State for examination on 29 April 2014. All planning applications for basement development which have been submitted but not yet determined will be assessed against the existing policies in the Core Strategy and the existing SPD until the Inspector’s report has been received.
The timetable for examination is set independently of the Council by the Planning Inspectorate. However informed opinion points to a decision in late summer/early autumn, after an examination in public has taken place.
So what are the implications if the Planning Inspector judges RBKC’s basement policy to be sound after reviewing the evidence base and considering representations?
- Weight is likely to be accorded to this emerging policy in assessing all basement applications in advance of formal adoption by the Council. This would include those planning applications submitted prior to the Inspector’s report being published but not determined before publication.
- The extent of basement excavation would be restricted to no more than 50% under the garden or open part of the site and limits the depth of excavation to a single storey in most cases. (Currently the policy allows excavation up to 85% under the garden). The extent of basements will be measured by Gross External Area (GEA). Sub-division of a single storey basement development to create additional floors would be prohibited.
- Where a basement has already been implemented following the grant of planning permission or the exercise of permitted development rights, the policy does not allow further basement floors or extensions that would exceed 50% of the garden or open part of the site.
- Basements under listed buildings would be resisted by this policy. This would include the extension of an original basement, cellar or vault.
- On larger sites basements of more than one storey and greater than half the garden area or open part of the site may be permitted in certain circumstances. These will generally be new developments located in a commercial setting or of the size of an entire or substantial part of an urban block.
PLANNING LEGISLATION UPDATE
For a temporary period of 2 years from 31 May 2013 HM Government has relaxed planning legislation in the following circumstances,
Latest on basement consultation in RBKC
The consultation on subterranean development in Kensington & Chelsea continues apace. The planning department is consulting on options which will inform future policy. At present basement extensions can be constructed under up to 85% of the garden area. In an effort to resist large subterranean developments RBKC wants to reduce that to 75% and some residents would like to see even tougher restrictions. In fact where there are concerns regarding hydrology and the ground conditions pertaining in some localities the extent of permitted development might be as low as 50%.
Planning rules to be relaxed in attempt to stimulate the economy
On 5th September the Government announced an emergency year-long free for all for house extensions. Whilst at present homeowners can build extensions up to 3 metres from the rear wall of their property under permitted development rights, the new measures will allow rear extensions of up to 6 metres for terraced properties and 8 metres for detached properties without the need for planning permission. The proposals are subject to a short one month consultation period. They are based upon the belief that the planning system is slow and cumbersome with 8 weeks required to process most applications by local planning authorities and 13 weeks for applications in respect of larger proposed developments. Included in the announcement was plans to allow businesses to expand their shops by up to 100 metres and industrial units by up to 200 metres. There is also a proposal for the temporary removal of the requirement for developers to include affordable social housing so long as the planned housing is for rent rather than sale.
Roof terrace success
Keith is currently retained as a planning conusltant by a client in a mews in South Kensington who wishes to replace historic garage use at ground floor level with office accommodation and to extend the amount of residential accommodation. Because the mews is commercial in nature, Kensington and Chelsea Council are protective over such planning applications. It is therefore imperative that the planning application does not offend policy but that symapthetic development can still take place to enhance the property and adapt it to the demands of a growing family.
The planning issues to be addressed in this application relate to viability, subterranean policies of the local authority and matters concerned with design and conservation.