Permitted development front porch

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  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,742 Forumite
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    We've decided it will just be a porch, and not a livable space.  Our neighbours have just had one built, but there's nothing on local planning site (I wanted to see any drawings they had done) but its 2m x 2m (external).  How would this of been possible? They used a very well known and respected local building company to do the work
    Because even well known and respected local building companies are willing to build things without planning consent?

    Unless the builder was contracted to give planning advice, if the porch doesn't have planning consent then the problem is 100% that of the building owner if the council finds out and starts enforcement action.  The builder has no liability.

    An alternative possibility is the neighbour has got planning consent but the council has failed to upload it to their site (unlikely, but still possible).
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 46,925 Ambassador
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    Hi all
    Sorry for the delay in replying, am currently juggling other issues at present so this keeps getting bumped down my list. 
    We've decided it will just be a porch, and not a livable space.  Our neighbours have just had one built, but there's nothing on local planning site (I wanted to see any drawings they had done) but it’s 2m x 2m (external).  How would this of been possible? They used a very well known and respected local building company to do the work
    People often build and then go for retrospective planning permission later. Or even build and do nothing until they sell, when they take out an indemnity policy.
    I'm a Forum Ambassador on The Coronavirus Boards as well as the housing, mortgages and student money saving boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Forum Ambassadors are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.
  • longwalks1
    longwalks1 Posts: 3,733 Forumite
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    silvercar said:
    People often build and then go for retrospective planning permission later. Or even build and do nothing until they sell, when they take out an indemnity policy.
    A couple of colleagues have mentioned this today, especially the 'build and do nothing until you sell', then take out an indemnity policy.  One said people will often photograph the entire build, footing depths etc, insulation in wall cavity etc just to cover themselves.
    I'm not going to do this obviously, just didn't realise it was a done thing until this morning.
  • aliby21
    aliby21 Posts: 321 Forumite
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    Or peoplesilvercar said:
    Hi all
    Sorry for the delay in replying, am currently juggling other issues at present so this keeps getting bumped down my list. 
    We've decided it will just be a porch, and not a livable space.  Our neighbours have just had one built, but there's nothing on local planning site (I wanted to see any drawings they had done) but it’s 2m x 2m (external).  How would this of been possible? They used a very well known and respected local building company to do the work
    People often build and then go for retrospective planning permission later. Or even build and do nothing until they sell, when they take out an indemnity policy.

    or they build without planning permission and hope nobody complains within the time limit for enforcement action
  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,742 Forumite
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    silvercar said:
    People often build and then go for retrospective planning permission later. Or even build and do nothing until they sell, when they take out an indemnity policy.
    A couple of colleagues have mentioned this today, especially the 'build and do nothing until you sell', then take out an indemnity policy.  One said people will often photograph the entire build, footing depths etc, insulation in wall cavity etc just to cover themselves.
    I'm not going to do this obviously, just didn't realise it was a done thing until this morning.
    This is a high-risk strategy though - if the council planners find out about the work and refuse a retrospective application then enforcement action could result in the porch having to be demolished (or rebuilt to comply with PD).

    If you try to sell within the enforcement timeframe then if the council finds out while you are trying to sell then you may end up without a sale, with the potential costs and consequences that may have.

    The thing about taking photographs relates to Building Control approval, not planning.  Although taking photos before starting PD work is a good idea in planning terms in case there is a subsequent argument about whether the work was in fact PD.

    Given the planning fee for a householder application is currently £258 is simply doesn't make sense not to get consent before starting work.  An indemnity policy might be cheaper than that, but when you add in legal costs plus the risk that the buyer (or their mortgage company) won't accept the policy then avoiding a planning application to save £258 is not very MSE.  Making a planning application does require plans, but for a small porch these are something anyone could draw up themselves with a pen and paper. It wouldn't need an architect - although anyone getting new building work done without having professionally drawn up plans needs to think carefully about the things that can go wrong with that approach.

    Also, photographs of building work in progress don't "cover" you.  They might be accepted by building control as evidence that the requirements of the regulations have been complied with, but there is no legal obligation on BC to accept them as retrospective evidence.  Having photos is better than not having photos (and taking pictures at the end of every working day is a good idea in every case) but they are not some kind of magic pax which allows people to ignore the building control laws and get away with it.
  • longwalks1
    longwalks1 Posts: 3,733 Forumite
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    aliby21 said:

    or they build without planning permission and hope nobody complains within the time limit for enforcement action
    Thanks aliby21, is that the 4 year from completion rule?
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,581 Forumite
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    aliby21 said:

    or they build without planning permission and hope nobody complains within the time limit for enforcement action
    Thanks aliby21, is that the 4 year from completion rule?
    If you are in a conservation area (I think) or it is a listed building (certainly), there is no time limit. And with listed buildings, enforcement action sometimes comes with criminal prosecutions.

    Her courage will change the world.

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  • Section62
    Section62 Posts: 7,742 Forumite
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    FreeBear said:
    aliby21 said:

    or they build without planning permission and hope nobody complains within the time limit for enforcement action
    Thanks aliby21, is that the 4 year from completion rule?
    If you are in a conservation area (I think) or it is a listed building (certainly), there is no time limit. And with listed buildings, enforcement action sometimes comes with criminal prosecutions.

    Also there is some flexibility on the application of the limit - for example in cases where there has been an element of concealment the limit won't necessarily apply.

    Concealment is unlikely to be a factor in most 'front porch' cases, but then those that face the road are the most likely to be spotted by someone who feels a sense of public duty to check the planning portal and alert the council.
  • FreeBear
    FreeBear Posts: 14,581 Forumite
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    Section62 said:
    FreeBear said:
    aliby21 said:

    or they build without planning permission and hope nobody complains within the time limit for enforcement action
    Thanks aliby21, is that the 4 year from completion rule?
    If you are in a conservation area (I think) or it is a listed building (certainly), there is no time limit. And with listed buildings, enforcement action sometimes comes with criminal prosecutions.

    Also there is some flexibility on the application of the limit - for example in cases where there has been an element of concealment the limit won't necessarily apply.
    Honeycrock Farm being a classic case of concealment, followed by a protracted legal case. Eventually ending in total demolition. And quite rightly so, it was an ugly building, badly constructed.
    In other news, there are rumbling in parliament to extend the 4 year rule to 10 - This would make it much more likely that structures could be subject to enforcement action.

    Her courage will change the world.

    Treasure the moments that you have. Savour them for as long as you can for they will never come back again.
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