Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

justanotherday
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Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by justanotherday »

Hi all, I hope you're all well. I've just discovered this forum whilst do some research for a planning permission application, and thank god I did! I've found a few helpful threads, and I've done a few searches but I feel like I'd still appreciate some thoughts and opinions from others who maybe experienced in the area of gaining planning permission.

It's a bit of a long story but I'll try to keep it direct and relevant. I wish to build a single garage, as I'd rather not have a flat roof and hence want to build to around 3m high rather than the 2.5m permitted development I submitted an application for a single garage on 10th July 2020. The application was accepted and I was expecting an answer early September. The planning officer contacted me to say she/they are happy with the dimensions and appearance of the proposal and she had recommended it for approval. The only issue being, that she had overlooked notifying the Highways department, but phrased this as a technicality. She asked me to extend the deadline for 5 weeks. Around 6 weeks later she contacted me to say there had been an objection raised by the Highways department, she basically couldn’t really explain what the issue was but spoke about some general concerns such as if anyone else was to block the entrance to the garage.. I told her this was not a concern to me and she asked me to confirm everything I’d discussed with her in an email so she could discuss with her manager. At the time she did say if the building was for storage or another use besides a garage then they’d have no issue with it. I’ve tried to call her a couple of times without success, but It’s now over 7 months since I applied.


Onto more recent events, on Friday last week, I received a one-liner email which says “as the application has now expired – please confirm you wish to withdraw the application.” Which to me seems ridiculous. She did say on the initial call that “they try to work with people to overcome any issues” and from what I’ve read that’s what I thought they should do, although my experience isn't so.


I have since got hold of the planning officer and she has confirmed the issue is with the Highway’s objection, however I’ve no idea how there could possibly be any objection from the Highway department. Basically my house shares a driveway with 2 other houses, this is a private strip of land owned and maintained by the three houses. It’s already established and designated as a driveway. This strip of land is around 25 meters long. The garage will be positioned at the furthest end away from the adjoining road. The area the garage will be built is used as parking and is shown on the deeds as such. I've asked the planning officer to confirm she and the Highway's department realise that the driveway is not a Highway, the general public have no right to pass and repass. The driveway is not open to pass onto other roads, it is closed at the end, where the drive meets the area I wish to build the garage, it is also gated. I've been told Highways will not support it as "the opening to the garage opens onto shared land" and they're "not sure of the legalities". She confirmed "they don't normally get involved in boundary type issues"

When the planning officer initally raised the concerns from the Highway's department, she was talking about general things like "what happens if someone blocks access to your garage" kind of going round in circles, this doesn't seem a legitimate concern of the Highway's department. I've told them that I wouldn't care if they gave the neighbour planning permission to build right upto my garage door as I'd simply enforce the covenant which overrides any planning permission. They can give the nighbour permission to extend into my garden if they want, I simply don't care, the fact is I'd prevent them from doing so by legal means that have more power than planning permission. I should make it clear that the area that I'm planning to build on is my land and the neighbours have no rights of access/covenant etc (as mine is the end house, they've no reason to require access. The land I'm crossing belongs to the neighbours however I have the benefit of a covenant proventing them from obstucting my access in any way whatsoever.

I'm thinking at the moment, firstly ask for a fee refund as it's way over 6 months. Secondly ask them to let the committee decide as if the issue is related to any access disputes then hopefully there maybe enough sense/knowledge in the committee to point out that this should be nothing to do with them. If that fails, let them issue a refusal that sets out the reasons why. I can then either appeal or go again with a free go.

I'm currently awaiting an email from the planning officer confirming what the issue with the Highway's department actually is. I can't imagine they can find any issue of where the driveway meets the highway. The whole length of the driveway is easily wide enough for cars to pass. Do they have any say on issues with private driveways that are not Highways?

I’m now looking for advice on how best to play this. The way I see my options are as below. I’d like to know if I understand my options correctly or of course if there maybe any other suggestions.


Option 1 – Appeal to secretary of state due to non-determination within 8 weeks


Option 2 – Withdraw the application. This will keep the planners happy, improve their stats, save them work and make the headache disappear.. I’d get a free go with another application, however I’d still have no idea what the issue is (so another application would be pointless).


Option 3 – Don’t withdraw and let them issue a refusal notice. At least I’ll know what the issue is, and from what I can see I’d still get a free go? Or the chance to appeal.


Option 4 – Ask them to send it to committee for decision?

Appreciate any advice anyone has on this and apologies the post is so long, I have tried to include the relevant facts.
Paddock
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by Paddock »

Usually, all the comments by various parties on a planning application can be accessed online by anybody.

Have you not looked at this?

Try googling 'search XYZ Council planning applications'

Paddock
justanotherday
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by justanotherday »

Paddock wrote: Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:53 pm Usually, all the comments by various parties on a planning application can be accessed online by anybody.

Have you not looked at this?

Try googling 'search XYZ Council planning applications'

Paddock
Hi Paddock and thanks for your response. I was expecting to be able to see comments on the website. I can see the application, it's Manchester Council, I've had a good look through all the options I have and it doesn't seem to be possible to view any comments (unless there hasn't been any officially logged?) This makes it all the more frustrating as the planning officer hasn't really been clear on what the issue actually is. The latest I've got from her is "the Highways department won't support it as the opening to the garage opens onto the shared drive" - Basically I have 2 car parking spaces allocated to the house and shown in the Title documents, they're quite big spaces, I'm basically just proposing to build a garage around one of the spaces (taking a bit from the remaining parking space). The access requirements are already in place and will not change with or without a garage.

Thanks
ukmicky
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by ukmicky »

Do not withdraw your application, i would appeal to secretary of state due to non-determination.


I thought they had to return your fee if not determined by 6 months
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
justanotherday
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by justanotherday »

ukmicky wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:43 am Do not withdraw your application, i would appeal to secretary of state due to non-determination.


I thought they had to return your fee if not determined by 6 months
Hi ukmicky, thanks for your post. I'm really favouring this as one of my options. I guess that would urge the council on to consider what the issue actually is.

The whole thing seems ridiculous to me, they're "not sure about the legalities" - I'd expect a council to check what the legalities are rather than refuse on the basis of being "not sure". It seems it's also upto the applicant to request the refund, rather than refunding it automatically..
MacadamB53
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by MacadamB53 »

Hi justanotherday,

I was curious as to why you don’t have the details of the response from Highways - after all, as Paddock has already mentioned, such things should be in the public domain.

however, having managed to locate the application on the council’s website, I can see that a response from Highways has indeed not been attached/uploaded.

I suspect (with little more than a hunch to go on) someone has an interest in that land not being developed - the owner of one of the two other properties on you private road, perhaps?

might be way off, but thought I’d share...

kind regards, Mac
justanotherday
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by justanotherday »

MacadamB53 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:48 pm Hi justanotherday,

I was curious as to why you don’t have the details of the response from Highways - after all, as Paddock has already mentioned, such things should be in the public domain.

however, having managed to locate the application on the council’s website, I can see that a response from Highways has indeed not been attached/uploaded.

I suspect (with little more than a hunch to go on) someone has an interest in that land not being developed - the owner of one of the two other properties on you private road, perhaps?

might be way off, but thought I’d share...

kind regards, Mac
Hi Macadam

Thanks for taking the time to have a look at this, and confirming the comments from Highways are not recorded on the application (I thought I was just being stupid).

It's possible you could be right but I'd find it very very unlikely. I speak to the neighbours and they're all supportive (at least on the face of it). The planning officer has also said there hasn't been any objections from neighbours or the public. It could be the case but they'll find if I don't get planning permission, I'm still going to build a garage there anyway, it'll just have to be less than 2.5m heigh :/
arborlad
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by arborlad »

MacadamB53 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:48 pm having managed to locate the application on the council’s website,



How did you achieve that - there isn't sufficient information?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
MacadamB53
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by MacadamB53 »

arborlad wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:33 pm
MacadamB53 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:48 pm having managed to locate the application on the council’s website,



How did you achieve that - there isn't sufficient information?
yes there is
arborlad
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by arborlad »

MacadamB53 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:40 pm
arborlad wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 7:33 pm
MacadamB53 wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:48 pm having managed to locate the application on the council’s website,



How did you achieve that - there isn't sufficient information?
yes there is



.................from this thread?
arborlad

smile...it confuses people
ukmicky
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by ukmicky »

I can’t see why highways would object because you already have driveway access as can been seen in the picture. I’m surprised youve gone with a single garage if you own both them spaces at the end of the driveway, I would have gone for a double .

I reckon they were trying to find an excuse for the delay which is why they threw in the highways objection



Arborlad

Yes from this thread. All you need is council , date of application , ,awaiting decision and-keyword garage.
Any information provided is not legal advice and you are advised to gain a professional opinion
justanotherday
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by justanotherday »

ukmicky wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:15 pm I can’t see why highways would object because you already have driveway access as can been seen in the picture. I’m surprised youve gone with a single garage if you own both them spaces at the end of the driveway, I would have gone for a double .

I reckon they were trying to find an excuse for the delay which is why they threw in the highways objection
Thanks for having a look. Yes it's bizarre, the planning officer has said "the entrance for the garage opens onto shared land", she says she has discussed this with her manager, her colleague and her colleague's manager, all of which apparently say they can't support it if Highways object.. I'm not sure they're just making a case for the delay as they asked me to withdraw the application.. which was completely out of the blue with no contact since several months ago when I submitted information to counter any possible access issue. The reasoning (extremely vague reasoning at that) does seem more of a planning department objection rather than a Highways objection. Possibly they're using Highways as an excuse as when I got a call after the 8 weeks, she said she can't see any issues and she's recommending it be approved.

I was considering a double garage, and may do in the future. I'm planning to do most of the building work myself, so thought I'd start off with a single. Plus the land has quite a slope (crossways) I can get the professionals in the future if I decide on a double. That's if I ever get permission! lol
justanotherday
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by justanotherday »

Whilst looking into making an appeal for non-determination, I've come across this statement with regards to what can be dealt with by appeal "Proposals which raise important or novel issues of development control, and/or legal difficulties." - I'm wondering if they were expecting me to appeal to the Secretary of State and would prefer that I do so to take the decision out of their hands. Would there be any benefit in waiting it out with the planning officer before going to appeal?
MacadamB53
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by MacadamB53 »

justanotherday wrote: Wed Feb 24, 2021 11:31 pm Whilst looking into making an appeal for non-determination, I've come across this statement with regards to what can be dealt with by appeal "Proposals which raise important or novel issues of development control, and/or legal difficulties." - I'm wondering if they were expecting me to appeal to the Secretary of State and would prefer that I do so to take the decision out of their hands. Would there be any benefit in waiting it out with the planning officer before going to appeal?
that is almost certainly NOT why they’ve failed to determine your application - think massive, complex or controversial stuff, not an ordinary garage by an ordinary house
justanotherday
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Re: Single detached garage - Planning permission nightmare!

Post by justanotherday »

MacadamB53 wrote: Thu Feb 25, 2021 12:17 am that is almost certainly NOT why they’ve failed to determine your application - think massive, complex or controversial stuff, not an ordinary garage by an ordinary house
Yeah I'm with you, you'd have thought so at least.. I'm just thinking because they've said they're "not sure about the legalities", although I'd expect them to find out. I did say to them access to all sorts of developments via a shared area must be quite common, and I can't see why the proximity of the door/opening to a shared area should make any difference - the response was "not really".

As you say, it's probably not this. I'm just trying to apply some logic to explain such shoddy handling
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