Manchester Planners

Manchester Planners

4D Planning Consultants Blog

Our blog is available to offer advice answer common questions that are received by our many enquiries, and share general information to help home owners and property developers better understand the complex planning system and the process. 4D Planning Consultants ("Manchester Planners") is a limited company with offices in both Manchester and London.

Government consults on minimum housing space standards

Latest newsPosted by 24 Aug, 2013 22:42:03

The Government in inviting views on a national minimum space standard as part of moves to streamline the welter of housing standards and regulations facing house builders.

Communities Minister Don Foster said the Government would consult on introducing the new space standard as part of its review of building standards.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said the administration was inviting views on “minimum space and access standards that would allow councils to seek bigger homes to meet local needs, including those of older and disabled people”.

London is currently the only area in the UK with minimum space standards. The Government’s proposals, now out for consultation, involve scrapping more than 90 per cent of the existing standards – cutting them down from more than 100 to fewer than 10.

Essential safety and accessibility rules will not be changed, DCLG stressed, but a mass of additional and often confusing housing standards that councils are free to apply locally – creating a patchwork of different standards – are proposed to be reduced.

The department also wants to reduce more than 1,500 pages of guidance to fewer than 80. No changes are being made to planning rules.

Don Foster said: “I’m proposing to cut needless red tape to let house builders get on with the real job of building the high quality new homes that people need, especially families and first-time buyers.

“The current mish-mash of housing standards means that from Allerdale in Cumbria to Zoar in Cornwall no same set of rules always applies – it’s confusing, bureaucratic and cannot be allowed to continue.”

Facing removal are current requirements for rainwater harvesting in places that don’t suffer from water shortages; demands for solar and wind energy sources that can’t physically fit onto the roofs of apartment buildings; a stipulation for multiple phone lines in home offices irrespective of need, and in addition to broadband connection; requirements to build accessible flats on floors that can’t be reached by disabled people and rules on window sizes that include a ‘dirty window factor’.
source: planning portal.

  • Comments(0)//

Change of Use from B1 to C3

Latest newsPosted by 23 Apr, 2013 13:44:49

The Government has announced the introduction of new permitted development rights to allow the change of use from offices to residential use without the need to secure planning permission. This is intended to facilitate growth, create jobs in the construction and service industries, and regenerate our town centres. The new regulations should come into force in the Spring. When exactly? Ask Eric Pickles!

A prior approval process covering significant transport and highways impacts, development in areas of high flood risk, land contamination and safety hazard zones will be in place. In practical terms, it is anticipated that this will mean a written request will need to be made to the relevant Local Authority prior to the change of use proceeding.

The permitted development rights are understood to apply to both vacant and occupied offices with no need to provide evidence that the offices have been marketed without success for any period of time. Any external alterations that would currently require planning permission or listed building consent will continue to do so.

Local Authorities may be able to remove the permitted development rights in Conservation Areas. Listed building consent might still be required for any internal alterations resulting from the proposed change of use.

Local Authorities have the opportunity to seek to opt out of these new permitted development rights where this can be justified on economic grounds. However, exemptions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The new regulations will have effect for a period of three years, following which the Government will review the benefits and impacts of this new flexibility.

We expect that only a limited number of exemptions will be granted, most notably in the City of London where it is considered that the introduction of ad-hoc housing may have an adverse impact on the global financial district and in particular the future development of new large scale office spaces within the Square Mile.

The details of how the new permitted development rights will sit with existing policies on affordable housing, space standards, parking standards and the Community Infrastructure Levy are to be confirmed.

The proposed easing of the rules has generally been well received within the property industry with investors and developers welcoming the greater flexibility that the changes propose. The sustainability sector has also welcomed the proposed changes as a step towards enabling development of buildings that can ‘swap’ uses during the course of their lifetime in response to demand.

Now is the time for owners, investors and developers to re-assess the performance of their office assets against the potential to release significant returns from conversion to residential as well as considering potential new purchases.

The challenge will be less in relation to obtaining planning permission and the focus will be in respect of economic viability of conversion. As a consequence we predict a significant increase in activity in this area, particularly in respect of under-performing offices in good residential locations.

Further changes, to be introduced to permitted rights, will allow the conversion of agricultural buildings into retail, office and leisure uses (but not residential) subject to a size threshold (to be confirmed) and a prior approval process, the increase in the threshold of permitted development rights in the B use class from 235 sq m to 500 sq m, and the temporary (for up to 2 years) change of a range of town centre buildings to shops, financial and professional services, restaurants and cafes and offices.

For further advice please do not hesitate to contact us.

  • Comments(0)//

Single Storey Rear Extension to a Flat - Do you need planning permission?

Manchester Planning ConsultantPosted by 06 Jan, 2013 00:59:48

Do you need planning permission for an extension to a flat?

In short the answer is: YES!

Our latest planning application to be granted was for a flat in a block of 6 flats. The owner of one of the ground floor flats required a ground floor rear extension. The building is not located in a conservation area, and the property is not of any architectural merit, and is not considered by the council as having a positive contribution to the character of the area, and is not listed. Nevertheless, full planning permission was required, because there are no permitted development rights for flats.

4D Planning Consultants prepared all the architectural drawings in CAD format – to scale, showing the existing floor plans and elevations as well as the proposed new floor plans and elevations. We prepared a D&A (Design and Access Statement) and liaised with the planning officer throughout the process to ensure that everything that is required for the council to make a decision by the 8 week deadline – is provided and is available.

Finally, the planning officer GRANTED planning consent to the application proposal, and we have already been approached by the next door neighbour to discuss with us his intentions to extend the rear of his property as well. Do you have a similar or different extension that you would like planning permission for? Even if you don’t need planning permission, we could assist you with every step of the development until construction. Give us a no-obligation call and we will discuss with you your proposals free of charge.

  • Comments(0)//

Permitted development proposals out for consultation

Latest newsPosted by 15 Nov, 2012 22:16:30
Permitted development proposals out for consultation

A consultation on proposals to increase permitted development (PD) rights for extensions to houses and business premises in non-protected areas in England has been launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

These proposed amendments to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 are also intended to streamline the regime covering the installation of broadband infrastructure.

DCLG is proposing action in five areas:

  • increasing the PD limits for the depth of single-storey domestic extensions from 4m to 8m (for detached houses) and from 3m to 6m (for all other houses), in non-protected areas, for a period of three years. No changes are proposed for extensions of more than one storey
  • increasing the PD size limits for extensions to shop and professional/financial services establishments to 100 sq m, and allowing the building of these extensions up to the boundary of the property (except where the boundary is with a residential property), in non-protected areas, for a period of three years
  • increasing the PD size limits for extensions to offices to 100 sq m, in non-protected areas, for a period of three years
  • increasing the size limits for new industrial buildings within the curtilage of existing industrial premises to 200 sq m, in non-protected areas, for a period of three years
  • removing some prior approval requirements for the installation of broadband infrastructure for a period of five years.

The consultation paper also made it clear the Government wants to explore whether there is scope to make it easier to carry out garage conversions.

DCLG say the reforms would, for a time limited period, slash planning red tape, sweep away unnecessary rules and bureaucracy and help tens of thousands of homeowners and companies.

The department stressed that the new rights would not apply in protected areas such as National Parks, conservation areas, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Special Scientific Interest and would not remove the requirement for separate listed building consent.

It added that the requirements of other regimes such as building regulations, the Party Wall Act or environmental legislation would also not be removed.

Planning Minister Nick Boles said: "These proposed reforms will make it easier for thousands of hard working families to undertake home improvements to cater for a growing family or to build a conservatory.

"Homeowners and businesses must be allowed to meet their aspirations for improving their homes and premises but this won't be at the expense of neighbours, communities and protected areas."

Other changes to permitted development are also being taken forward separately: making it easier for commercial properties to be converted to residential use; and encouraging the reuse of existing buildings through making changes of use easier.

  • Comments(0)//

Applications Granted Planning Permission

Latest newsPosted by 01 Nov, 2012 21:00:54
A few of the latest planning applications to be GRANTED:

1) 5 Warren Mews, London W1T 6AP for a change of use from (B1) offices to (C3) a single family dwelling.

2) 19 Edgware Road London, W2 2JE for a mixed use retail pharmacy (ground floor) and medical centre (lower ground floor).

3) 1 Wilton Farm Cottages, Radlett Lane, Shenley for a retrospective planning application to convert the barn in the green belt into a self contained single family dwelling.

4) Cecilia Cottage, 86 Wise Lane in Mill Hill for a new double garage at the front of the house, and a conversion of the existing garage into a bedroom with en-suite.

5) 72 Parliament Hill, Hampstead, NW3 2TJ for a front porch in a conservation area.

6) 22 Roding Road, Hackney, E5 0DW for a loft conversion with a rear dormer for an HMO.

7) 44 Brackenbury Road, N2 for a single storey rear extension.

8) 37 Edgware Road London, W2 2JE for a mixed use retail pharmacy (ground floor) and medical consultation centre (on lower ground floor).

Many more applications have been granted, but the list above are the most recent.

For live updates and to follow our news, please "Like" our facebook page.

A sample collage of a few of our recent projects which we prepared a 3D model for:

  • Comments(0)//

Manchester Planners

Manchester Planning ConsultantPosted by 26 Oct, 2012 12:01:52

Manchester Planners (4D Planning Consultants LTD) is a young planning consultancy and architectural practise based in Manchester. We cover all areas in Manchester and surrounding areas. 4D Planning has much experience with preparing and producing the most professional planning applications and designs for new developments in and around Manchester. We produce all the architectural drawings, design services and liaise with the planning department and the relevant planning officers on your project. Our primary aim is to get you through the bureaucracy, and to obtain permission from the council for your proposed development.

Common developments include:

- Loft conversion

- Side extension

- Rear extension

- Garage conversion

- Conversion of a house into flats

- New build for a house

- Change of use applications

- Advertising consent for shop fronts

- outline planning permission for large developments

and many more...

We have experience dealing with many councils in Greater Manchester, but specifically the following:


Manchester city







We offer free telephone advice, and a free no obligation competitive quote!

Visit our website for more information and to get in touch.

  • Comments(0)//