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6 reasons why your planning application may get rejected

Playing by the rules

With the UK population growing and a lack of housing available to support it, new housing developments are quickly popping up on smaller pieces of land and conventional homes are being converted to support multiple occupants. And for those already in their own homes, there has been an increase in the number of people who are choosing to ‘improve rather than move’.

However, tough regulations around planning permission could threaten to delay or even halt these types of projects. Here are 6 of the top reasons why your planning permission may be rejected.

1. Loss of light to neighbouring properties

According to the common law Prescription Act 1832, a property owner has a right to light if they have enjoyed uninterrupted light through an opening of a building for more than 20 years. It is advisable to consider neighbouring properties if you are considering a development or a home improvement which may affect this right.


If you are unsure you may need to get a ‘rights to light’ report from a surveyor.

light through window
2. Trees

An arboricultural survey will be required with your planning application if there are any trees of significance within the site where development is planned. This survey will help to determine the impact that your development would have on the trees. Also, some trees are protected under the Tree Preservation Order (TPO). You can speak to your local planning office to establish if the trees on or near your development site are protected by a TPO.

It is also wise to consider the placement of trees for the sake of your own development. Tree roots could impact the foundations of the development as they continue to grow.

construction work near trees
3. Noise disturbance

When planning for commercial properties within a residential area, noise disturbance will need to be considered and highlighted in your application. Points to consider include:

  • The increase in car and pedestrian traffic
  • Sound created by cars and customers

  • The time of day where increased noise would occur

Objections by the authorities may be overcome by setting conditions to relieve the noise that the new premises would create, including:

  • Restricting opening hours
  • Sound-proofing the premises
  • Installing self-closing doors and double/triple glazed windows

4. Overlooking/Loss of privacy to neighbouring properties

Developers building new properties and home-owners planning extensions will need to consider if their proposed plans will cause a loss of privacy to a surrounding property(s). Will any windows overlook any other parts of any other properties? This also includes gardens.

Where this may be the case, a Planning, Design and Access statement will be required to support the planning application. This document will justify the proposal in a structured way with an aim of answering any questions that the local council may ask and addressing any concerns. While a Planning, Design and Access statement can be written by anyone, it is advised to employ a specialist to help to ensure a strong and thorough application.

5. Poor traffic planning

If your development will impact the surrounding highway network then a Transport Statement will be required to support your planning application. However, for larger developments a Transport Assessment will be needed which will set out anticipated transport issues and the measures that will be taken to deal with the impacts. The Government website provides guidance on whether you require a Transport Statement or Assessment and when they are required here.

6. Impact on conservation areas

Whether you’re a developer proposing to build in a conservation area or a homeowner planning home-improvement works, you will need to demonstrate to your local authority whether your plans:

  • Improve the existing building and overall impression of the conservation area, or

  • Help to preserve what is already there

Although Permitted Development rights are still available in Conservation Areas, there are restrictions and guidelines. These rules apply to extensions, windows, outbuildings, solar panels and cladding.

Applications for planning permission relating to homes within a conservation area are looked at more closely than standard applications. It would be beneficial to seek pre-application advice from your local conservation officers.

Conservation area
What isn’t classed as a planning consideration?

While the impact of your development or project can be contested by surrounding neighbours on the above points, there are areas that will not be taken into consideration by the planning office. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Loss of value to neighbouring properties
  • Loss of acquired rights to let

  • Access for maintenance

  • Development contrary to private covenant

What’s next?

For further advice and guidance, head to the Planning Portal website. The government website also carries a huge wealth of knowledge, including Tree Preservation Orders and Community Infrastructure Levies.

Almost there?

Once you’re ready to start your build, don’t forget to come and see us for all your building materials and expert advice.

We can supply everything from the ground up and have a wealth of knowledge in our Elliotts Sales Hub to help you build.

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