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Why are residential extensions refused in England?

Exploring common reasons for planning refusal.

The most common reasons for planning refusal for residential extensions in England can vary depending on local planning policies and regulations, but some common reasons include:

Residential extension planning map

1.       Overdevelopment: The proposed extension may be deemed to be excessive in size or scale compared to the existing property or the surrounding area. Sometimes less is more!


2.       Impact on Neighbours: The extension might have adverse impacts on neighbouring properties in terms of loss of privacy, overshadowing, or loss of sunlight. We seek to design out any issues at the conceptual stage, ensuring these problems don’t occur during the planning process and cause unnecessary delays or having to redesign the extension.


Residential extension architectural drawing plan

3.       Design and Appearance: Planning authorities may refuse permission if they consider the design of the extension to be unsuitable or out of character with the existing property or the local area. Part of our job would be to ensure any extension is visually attractive, works with the host building and fits in with the local planning authority’s design principles.


4.       Highway Concerns: If the proposed extension could impact traffic flow, road safety, or parking availability in the area, it might be refused on highway grounds. We always aim to retain or improve the existing parking and site entrances where necessary, which will always be viewed positively.


5.       Loss of Amenity: If the extension would result in the loss of important amenities, such as green space or trees, it might be refused. Amenity and garden space is vitally important to any good house, therefore our designs try to work with the existing and improve, where possible, the relationship between the indoor and outdoor spaces. Research in the industry demonstrates that residences featuring high-quality outdoor areas offer superior living conditions and enhance the lifestyle of their inhabitants.


Computer programmed image of a new architectural structure on the back of a residential home

6.       Conservation Area or Listed Building Restrictions: If the property is located in a conservation area or is a listed building, stricter regulations may apply to preserve the character and historic significance of the area, leading to refusal if the proposed extension doesn't meet these criteria. It is essential to understand the restrictions placed on a property prior to doing any work. We ensure our designs are mindful of these restrictions and advise our clients of their responsibilities before, during and after planning to make sure they comply with all enforced restrictions.


7.       Environmental Concerns: Planning authorities may refuse permission if they believe the extension would have a negative impact on the environment, such as by causing pollution or harm to wildlife habitats. Each project is unique, therefore some extension projects won’t necessarily impact the environment or local wildlife. We aim to establish the need for additional specialist information as early as possible to ensure applications aren’t delayed due to survey time constraints etc. Unfortunately some wildlife surveys can only be conducted during certain times of the year, so it might not be possible to avoid delay, but we can establish this early to ensure our clients are aware of this issue.


A computer generated interior design of the new architectural development in a residential building

8.       Impact on Infrastructure: If the extension would place excessive demand on local infrastructure such as drainage, utilities, or schools, it might be refused. This is less likely with an extension than a new home or residential development, but we always try to ensure our designs can work with the local infrastructure, e.g. drainage and utilities.


9.       Failure to Comply with Planning Policies: The proposed extension may not align with local planning policies or the local development plan, leading to refusal. We pride ourselves on local knowledge and do our best to keep up to date with any changes to local planning policies. We also try to find local precedents which we can use to justify any proposal, ensuring we are seeking approval for something that meets the criteria set by the LPA.


10.   Inadequate Consultation or Information: If the planning application lacks necessary information or if there hasn't been proper consultation with relevant stakeholders or the local community, it could lead to refusal. We always aim to seek the best route for an approval, whatever the project. Therefore, we will seek additional information from the LPA or external consultants if we feel it will help improve our chances of a successful application. If the LPA ask for further information we make it a priority to ensure the application isn’t delayed.

It's important for homeowners considering residential extensions to thoroughly research and understand local planning regulations and seek professional advice to ensure their proposals are compliant and have the best chance of approval.


If you’re considering extending or refurbishing your home, please get in contact to see if TFQ can help you achieve your goals and make those dreams a reality.


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