A tricky cottage extension

The owners of this cottage in Thornbury bought it in early 2014 after relocating to the area. They always knew they wanted a larger kitchen, but getting permission for one proved trickier than they first imagined. The cottage has been variously extended over time, most recently in the 1970’s. This meant that the permitted development rights it once had, had already been absorbed with the most recent extension. The property was also squeezed, on one side, up against the boundary with a field. While this field was in the ownership of the cottage, it was outside the curtilage of the cottage itself, and therefore was deemed to be agricultural land. Building on agricultural land is often very difficult to gain permission for, so this presented another limitation to the potential for an extension.

In 2013, the government changed the laws regarding permitted development, and this change allows home owners to build larger extensions through a simpler planning process- via a ‘neighbour consultation’ application. The change was created to help encourage the construction industry after the recession, and offers a simpler application process, which is also free. I have applied on quite a number of occasions for this type of application, in many cases I believe these applications would have been granted via the standard planning procedure anyway, but in some cases, including this, it has allowed the owners to create a larger extension, than I believe they otherwise would’ve been able to gain permission for.

Between the scope of the neighbour consultation parameters, the orientation of the house, and the proximity of the boundary, we were able to design an almost triangular extension to the cottage, giving the much wanted space required. The resulting extension is really lovely, the kitchen is bright, light and spacious. A rectangular flat roof window brings in so much light, even on the grey autumnal day I visited, a long portrait window in the end elevation gives the owners a lovely view over their field, and bi folding doors open onto a little courtyard where they have meals in better weather!

As part of the extension, a small WC has also been transformed into a useful WC/shower room, a useful additional space, especially when guests come to stay!

The extension has made a great difference to the cottage, and the owners are delighted. Originally the Neighbour Consultation scheme was due to end in May 2016, and all relevant building work needed to be complete by then also, but the scheme has been extended for a further 3 years, which is great news for anyone who might benefit from the larger extensions this can allow. If you want to discuss if this might benefit you, get in touch!

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