We write today about one of our smaller applications approved this week for a carport (garage) located near Chart Sutton under Maidstone Borough Council.

Firstly, the task was not as easy as it sounds, and furthermore, our title is somewhat misleading as it is actually quite a sizeable building for its purpose!

Patrick Durr Associates were contacted by an applicant having fallen foul of development control. Like many, this applicant had believed that they were allowed to replace a number of small garden buildings with a four-bay garage without planning permission. Further, they had proposed a large room above the unit with extended eaves to allow for a personal snooker room. Unfortunately, in this case they were incorrect and planning permission was required for the building works.

The building contractor had already constructed two-thirds of the development when the Council’s Planning Enforcement Officer visited. The officer advised that the applicant make a planning application as soon as possible or demolition of the building would be recommended.

As suggested, the applicant submitted a retrospective planning application for the building, however it was unceremoniously refused due to its size and bulk. Unfortunately, with this refusal the Planning Enforcement Department also began applying pressure and deadlines for this issue to be resolved.

The applicant then contacted Patrick Durr Associates, initially hoping to appeal the Council’s decision via the Planning Inspectorate. After reviewing the scheme, we advised the applicant that we were not prepared to forward a planning appeal, as we believed the Council’s stance was correct and such an appeal would essentially waste time and money. Instead, we proposed an alternative scheme to the Council under pre-application discussions, hoping for an agreeable way forward.

After a month of discussions and three designs later, we received positive news from the Council that it was happy with our proposed three bay carport with storage/office area above. As such, we submitted planning permission for this new building, which was approved without issue this week.

The applicant can now use the carport for vehicle storage, and the room above for a games room or office. In time, due to the purposeful design, the applicant may be able to convert the area above the carport into a studio holiday let providing a little extra income. Of course such a conversion would be subject to planning permission, the chances of attaining which would have to be assessed at the time.

This is another successful case, where Patrick Durr Associates has managed to help an applicant in need and negotiate a mutually beneficial way forward for both Council and client.

Remember if your application is refused: ‘T-FAL’ – Talk First, Appeal Later. Trying to negotiate a way forward with the Council is always quicker and cheaper than gambling on a planning appeal.

If you need help finding a new direction, or you are unsure whether to appeal a Council decision or note, please contact Patrick Durr Associates.