How to get planning permission - Grand Designs Magazine

How to navigate the planning system

Expert guidance is paramount when trying to get permission for a self-build or renovation

Promotional Feature By Lorraine Crighton-Smith |

Contemplating a self-build or renovation project and wondering how to get planning permission? Having a planning strategy in place is an essential but often overlooked part of a build project. Navigating the planning permission and building regulations systems isn’t always plain sailing and many Grand Designs houses would not exist had planners been presented with the final design at the first submission.

‘Often it’s knowing how to get from A to D via C and B that is the key to success,’ said ArchiWildish’s Mark Stephen Wildish MCIAT.

a remodelled large detached home with double garage and gravel drive

Photo: Archiwildish

How to get planning permission

ArchiWildish created an innovative, environmentally conscious design for a family dreaming of building their own, wheelchair-accessible barn conversion in Warwickshire, which went on to feature on Grand Designs in 2019.

When the experienced Chartered Architectural Technologist first met Mark and Penny, they expressed their dream of building a new home on this plot, but both national and local planning policies dictated that a new dwelling in this open countryside location should not be permitted.

‘I told them that they had no hope of achieving this, and it was not until four years later – with the advent of Class MB (now Class Q) prior approval for converting agricultural buildings into dwellings – that a glimmer of hope presented itself,’ said Mark.

how to get planning permission to build a new barn dwelling in the countryside

Photo: Archiwildish

Lateral thinking

Lateral thinking achieved approval for the wheelchair-friendly barn conversion. Using the established principle of a dwelling in this location, ArchiWildish’s careful negotiations and expertise navigating the planning system meant they were able to justify the existing barn’s replacement with a new dwelling and get planning permission.

contemporary barn with double-height windows built behind an old farm house

Photo: Archiwildish

Without a thorough game plan in place it’s easy to become unstuck at planning. ‘Failing to get your ducks in a row can even prevent future developments going forwards,’ said Mark.

‘A good example of this would be a farmer we knew who had been poorly advised to use his permitted development [PD] rights to put up a new barn, only to then find out that this revoked his PD rights to convert one of his older barns to a dwelling.’

beautiful new brick house surrounded by open fields in the countryside

Photo: Archiwildish

Identifying the potential roadblocks when it comes to the planning system, and knowing ways to navigate around them – making use of things like permitted development rights and not underestimating the power and importance of local support from residents, parish councils and ward members – are among the key considerations that require a careful approach.

‘ArchiWildish is adept at navigating the planning system and thinking outside of the box, which has brought us success in securing many difficult planning approvals. If you’re planning your own Grand Design and wondering how to get planning permission, please get in touch.’

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