Red Tape Cut to make Permitted Development Permanent

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Home owners will continue to be allowed to carry on building large house extensions without full planning permission after the government announced it was making temporary rules permanent.

Under the present rules, home owners can put a single story rear extension on their property extending up to 6 metres for a terraced or a semi-detached home, or up to 8 metres for detached property.

Present housing minister Kit Malthouse said that the move will help homeowners to extend their properties, without battling through “time consuming red tape”.

He continues.. “by making this permitted development right permanent, it will mean families can grow without being forced to move”…..

At present records indicate that 110,000 extensions have been completed since 2014 under previously temporary rules.

The general feedback across the architectural industry has been mixed with some senior architectural designers noting that although it was “well intentioned” by the government it could lead to a “loss of control over design quality”.

Being able to skip the planning process, means that there is risk of the process of design being neglected, leading to “ill considered and poor quality schemes”

On the other hand, the permanent rules put in place have been welcomed by many in the industry, who note that the rules will continue to speed up projects avoiding even small projects having lengthy delays by overstretched councils.

France + Associates regularly use permitted development rules to reduce risk and increase the chances of planning success for clients with disabilities, who often require additional accommodation to meet their housing needs.

Notable success in recent months has seen France and Associates utilise relaxed planning rules, to extend a property to provide specialist accommodation within greenbelt, which would have been far more contentious with lengthy delays, had a full planning application been required. For further information on this application see the following link.

Changing Places - should they be mandatory?

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The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has recently opened consultation for “Changing Places” to be made mandatory in all new public buildings.

Changing Places bathrooms are a larger than average bathroom than standard accessible toilets, which often do not have the right equipment, are not the large enough and do not meet the needs of all disabled people. Further information can be found on 

The Figures

There are 1300 Changing Places facilities nationwide, which has only increased by 140 new facilities in the last 12 years, since 2007, averaging 11 across the nation per year. According to some government reports, there are 250,000 disabled persons nationally who would benefit from a Changing Places facility. That equates to on Changing Place facility, per 192 persons nationally.

What the Government intends to do

The Government is seeking to improve this by:

  1. Mandatory requirement in legislation in Planning and Building Regulation terminology and stipulated requirements, specifically Part M of the Building Regulations

  2. Provide a £2 million fund for over 100 hospitals to have them installed in existing buildings

The mandatory standards will remove ambiguity on optional requirements, which can at times be taken out on “reasonable provision” arguments. One area which may continue to become an issue, are in historic buildings which are often listed. The consultation seeks that it should be considered to be installed, with the Building Control authority becoming the authority in deciding when it is not possible, to install a Changing Places facility.

This will apply to new buildings, buildings being extended or where a “change of use” application applies, meaning existing public buildings will not be required to change/improve present facilities.

France and Associate’s Comments:

At present, Local Governments can stipulate one of the above requirements in Planning Conditions for housing schemes and new public buildings, IF “it is considered reasonable, proportionate and financially viable”.

What that means is that there is scope for developer to prove that it is not reasonable or financially viable. This can leave a gap in the market, so changes need to be made to legislation in order for it to have a knock on effect on the build environment.

The present requirements which are compulsory fall way short of Changing Places standards, and although the higher standards found in Part M of the Building Regulations are a right step in the right direction, they are often taken out following a value engineering process. Unfortunately, a lot of standards around accessibility – certainly in new housing, remain optional.

With regards to Public Buildings, the Government’s manifesto set out “that where you live, shop, go out, travel or park your car should not be determined by your disability”, and increasing the provision of Changing Places toilets would certainly be a step in the right direction.

The proposed changes which will make it mandatory for designers and developers to include in public buildings, will certainly increase provision.

Have Your Say Here

Get involved and have your say on this consultation, by clicking on the link here -

Planning Application submitted for a Large New Dwelling

A planning application has been submitted for a Large New Dwelling in Almondbury, Huddersfield.

France+Associates have been appointed by Roseda Properties to design a bespoke Dwelling in the sought after area of Almondbury, Huddersfield. 

 The large family home is designed to make the best of the far reaching views and prominent hill side position.

Planning Approval has now been applied for from Kirklees Council, with the supporting statement prepared by David Storrie of D5 Planning Consultants.


Greenbelt Planning Application receives Green Light

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France+Associates have successfully achieved planning consent within Greenbelt, lead by Nick Willock of Robert Halstead.  

The early 18th century property in Warrington, had an application submitted to utilise existing permitted development rights, to accommodate extension works required. 

Once complete onsite, the uncompromising design and finishes applied will incorporate the wheelchair users needs for specialist bathing and therapy areas, as well as hydrotherapy pool house within its grounds. 

The historic property is set within an area of outstanding natural beauty, having its extension and improvement works carried out sympathetically and in mind with its historical status & local importance.

The project is due to start mid 2019.


France + Associates shortlisted for further Design Awards!

France and Associates have been shortlisted for two design awards, for the second year running, on behalf of the LABC Building Excellence Awards 2019.

The LABC recently announced the shortlisted nominees, and have shortlisted one of France and Associates recent projects for the awards for “Best Individual New Home” and “Best Inclusive Building”.

The project in Eckington, Derbyshire, has already won an award for “Excellence in Architectural Technology” by the CIAT (Chartered Institute of Architectural Technology). For further information on the previous award, see earlier article, F+A wins National Design Award.


Planning Permission Received for Extension to Property in Ashton in Makerfield

Planning Consent was achieved just in time for spades and excavator buckets to be sunk into the ground, to remain on track with the tight programme onsite.

Works are now well underway on the large detached property, which in time will feature through floor lift, therapy room, specialist bathing facilities and hydrotherapy pool areas. More updates to follow.

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Completed New Dwelling in Eckington, submitted for “Best Inclusivity” award

A project which has already received national accolades for “Excellence in Architectural Technology” has been submitted for the LABC awards for the East Midlands region.

The project responds to the clients demand for a contemporary building within its setting and area, contributing to amenity. The clients requirements of the home being inclusive of her needs for a partially sighted person, and the family members she lives with, has been met with fantastic client satisfaction. As the client is likely to remain at home more than other homeowners, due to both circumstances and the running of a business from home, the building was also designed and constructed to accommodate potentially large energy consumption running costs, and is therefore highly insulated.

The dwelling incorporates a modern design within a traditional Edwardian street scene. The dwelling features contemporary use of hardwearing and low maintenance materials, yet reflects design principles of both surrounding buildings, and the original dwelling it replaces.

This was achieved using a mix of modern and traditional materials, and making use of colour changes and design details to highlight key building features.


France+Associates appointed Consultants for Next Step Trust

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Consultations have continued in to 2019 with the fast growing charity, who specialise in day care activities for young adults. The charity have expanded their property portfolio in 2018 to provide a wider variety of services to the community.

France+Associates have been appointed to assist on a number of their sites to assist redevelopment and extending their services to meet community demand. Exciting developments are on the horizon.