Planning applications are often not straightforward. We were recently called out to meet with a client who wished to extend his home by adding a single storey extension to his kitchen to form a modern garden room. On visiting the site we noted there was a mature Lebanese Cedar tree in the garden and close to the house and on further enquiry were advised that it is protected under a Tree Preservation Order.
We recognised that permission to extend the house could be affected by the tree and we therefore issued preliminary sketches of our proposals to the council's arboricultural officer for his comments prior to finalising design proposals or submitting a planning application.
In agreement with the council we arranged for hand excavation of a simple trench along the line of the proposed wall that would be nearest to the tree and this was inspected by us and the arboricultural officer and photographs taken for record purposes. It was then confirmed by the council's officer that a proposed extension on the lines envisaged would be acceptable from an arboricultural point of view and this gave our client the comfort to engage us to progress the design, apply for and obtain detailed planning permission.
Working in this way and resolving fundamental issues before finalising design is cost effective to our clients and can avoid lengthy delays during the planning application process, reduces the potential for a planning refusal and reduces potential costs to our clients.