Basement Review Draft policy and other measures for public consultation

5 5- Permitted Development

5.1 The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2008 (GPDO) sets out certain categories of development that do not require planning permission. Enlargements of a certain scale to a single dwelling are permitted development. As basements are enlargements, these are therefore permitted. In essence a ‘single storey’ basement directly underneath the dwelling, which projects no more than 3 metres into the rear garden, does not require planning permission, and as such is exempt from the controls that the planning system can offer.  

5.2 Bringing smaller basement extensions within the remit of the planning system would enable the Council to control the implementation stage in terms of construction method and construction traffic, and receive information relating to the structural impacts on the adjoining properties, for the neighbours to then take forward in their party wall agreements. It would also allow other aspects of the project to be assessed such as the visual impact of roof lights, whether land which is contaminated is effectively considered and to require sustainable urban drainage and carbon reduction measures to be implemented.

5.3 A local authority may make a direction under Article 4 of the GPDO to remove permitted development rights, thus bringing a category of development back under planning control. Where an application made necessary by the Article 4 direction is refused, compensation is normally payable, but the publication of the Town and Country Planning (Compensation) (England ) Regulations 2012 has removed that burden as regards extensions, alterations and improvements to dwelling houses, subject to certain requirements.

5.4 Given the considerable benefits associated with bringing all but the most minor basements extensions under the remit of the planning system, the Council is considering making the use of Article Directions either across the Borough, or more specifically targeted on, for example, areas where streets are narrow or where construction is otherwise constrained. However, this approach is not without its costs as no planning application fee is payable to the local planning authority for an application made necessary by an Article 4 Direction. This cost, if across the borough,  has been estimated to be in the region of £65,000 pa, though this could rise significantly were the number of eligible applications to increase. This cost will be ongoing. 

5.5 A formal procedure must be undertaken were the Council to decide to implement Article 4 Directions. The Council would have to consult those affected for at least six weeks before deciding whether to confirm the Article 4 Direction or not. In order to avoid the payment of compensation the Council would then need to give at least twelve months notice of its plans to make the direction.