The London Borough of Barking & Dagenham refused 38% of planning applications in the last quarter of 2019, more than almost any other council in England (apart from Watford and Redbridge). Are applicants getting a raw deal and is it worth appealing these refusals?
The fact that Barking & Dagenham is refusing so many applications does not necessarily mean that homeowners and other applicants are being treated unfairly. However, since the rate at which they are refusing applications is nearly 4 times the national average, something does seem to be amiss.
Our most recent appeal success in the borough related to a proposal for a two-storey side extension. The council refused it on the basis that it would close a gap in the streetscene and that there would be a 'terracing effect' because the extension would extend up to the side boundary.
However, the neighbour had already extended in a similar way and this was a diverse streetscene with houses of different sizes and styles. In particular, the houses had been extended in all sorts of different ways over the years - including dormers, rear and side extensions, porches etc.
The council's main policies date from 2010 and 2011 and they have supplementary planning guidance on extensions dating from 2012. The guidance does say that side extensions should not close off the gap between houses, but only where the gap "makes a positive contribution to the streetscene".
We argued that the gap was not an important part of the streetscene in this case and showed that the extension had been sensitively designed to fit in with the surrounding area. We provided details of four other cases in the area in which the council has recently granted permission for similar extensions. We were very pleased when the appeal was allowed and planning permission was granted.
If you have been refused permission, in Barking & Dagenham or elsewhere, it is important to consider an appeal. We offer a case review service and a quick and easy appeal service. Please do not hesitate to contact our experienced planning consultants if you have any questions.