This years first live sessions of Ask The Architect were held in Shrewsbury last Friday and we had some interesting discussions, showing the range of work in architecture and the complexities involved in apparently simple projects.
One of the first visitors, Ms K C from Shrewsbury, wanted to know what was involved in making a planning application for a balcony on an existing house. The house in question is in Shrewsbury and its living rooms are on the first floor to provide expansive views over the river.
The route to making a planning submission was explained: Draw a balcony following client’s instructions and approval, check structural requirements with engineer and prepare and submit forms and information to the planning department, sit back and wait for a decision.
The options for construction were reviewed and the position of the balcony suggests that it should be cantilevered off the house, to avoid any party wall issues with structures on or near the boundary, disruption of the existing boundary wall and also avoid the current access around the house being restricted.
The house is located next to a vacant plot (owner unknown) that is part of an ongoing planning application for two large ‘luxury eco homes’ and the balcony position faces the vacant site, with the house being approximately a meter from the adjoining boundary.
This is where the assessment of the proposal becomes more complex and involves a full knowledge of the proposals for each site. The question that Ms K C faces now is whether the work and time involved in making a planning application is worth it? Surely there is only one way to find out.
Later on in the afternoon, I was talking to Mr H K about his plans to make a planning application for a new house at the end of his garden so he could then sell the land with planning permission.
Mr H K wanted to know where to begin and what was involved, as he had been planning this development for sometime and was now ready to make a start.
It was suggested that one of the first things to do was get a good understanding of what would sell well on the plot, perhaps by discussing the details with an estate agent, the type of house, its size, and who would be buying it for example.
In addition to what would sell, we needed to look at what would get planning permission, and without making a full planning application the alternatives are limited. The site is within a conservation area, so applying for outline planning permission was not an option and planning departments now charge for pre application enquiries and in this case the fee is almost as much as a full application.
Obviously, both of the above will have a bearing on the design of the house, which would be the next step towards making a planning application. During the design process more detailed information from planning policy and requirements for planning applications would be considered to inform the design.
Testimonial Mr H K: ‘Very pleased that you are offering a free consultation service in a convenient location. Thank you for the good advice and helpful comments.’