How can I gain planning permission for a backland development?
We are considering purchasing the bottom of a large garden to build our home on. Unfortunately, I have been made aware that councils generally frown upon garden developments. We sought pre-planning advice and were informed that the size and style we want should not be much of an issue, but they were concerned about the reduction of the green space, fearing it may cause harm to the local area. Saying that, the picture they were basing their opinion on was a Google Maps screen grab, which likely showed the greenery as being fuller than it is.
Short of us obtaining a site visit prior to our application, do you know of anything that may help us gain planning permission? What do the councils class as harm and inappropriate development in gardens? Building in a back garden, or ‘backland’ developments, as they are known, can raise difficulties in successfully gaining planning permission. e key issues tend to be the noise and disturbance impact of a new access route in close proximity to the flanks of adjoining houses and their private gardens, plus overlooking windows and loss of light or outlook to neighbouring properties. e planners will also consider any prospective harm to the character of the surroundings.
e council has identified some potential damage to the area through the loss of greenery, but unless any significant trees are to be lost, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Possible wider disruption is inevitably a subjective judgment. Much would depend on the prominence of the new house, in terms of its size, height, materials and visibility. e amount of screening and the degree to which it would either blend or conflict with the prevailing pattern of housing nearby are factors, too.
Your council’s Local Plan policies will set out criteria for new development and you should check your project against those. In presenting an application, ensure your drawings look attractive. It’s worth considering commissioning some 3D images or artists’ impressions, to show how the house would look in its context. It is best to avoid any objections from neighbours too, as this can only help you in your bid.