By Herefordshire’s Top 25 Grand Design Architect Garry Thomas of Thomas Studio
Despite the huge need for what we affectionately call a ‘Golden Years’ home, working within this field is like opening a steam cooker. While currently unsupported by planning departments, suitable arrangements to reduce the burden on the state or local authority care provision by developing self-builds sees planners indifferent to this problem.
That’s because personal circumstances are not a planning matter, cold hard planning policy trumps personal gain, but ‘Garry’s 3 simple step formula’ can lubricate your application through the planning system.
Elevate the Critical Need Failing to elevate awareness of the critical need in your planning application, means it will be judged purely on planning policy – often getting a refusal under delegated powers before any elected councilors get anywhere near supporting your application.
“I am convinced that the time and effort that you put into your submission, together with the associated policy detail… explanations swayed the meeting leading to an extremely close but nonetheless positive vote” said a recent Thomas Studio client, who informed the local councilor who got behind their application for a 2-bedroom care home for his elderly mother.
But crafting the perfect planning application takes experience, understanding as well as an architect who knows what they are doing.
Garry’s 3 simple step formula
1. Design: Make the project appealing. A pleasing design will gain better merit with the planners, so take the time to understand the site and to create a building that fits in.
For example: A recent Thomas Studio client had planning success for a 2 bed care home that was designed as a garden folly set within the plot of an existing house with landscaped grounds.
2. Support the Back Story: Get the community behind the scheme. Appeal to friends and neighbours to write a suitable support letter, and to ensure they identify with your needs and capture this in writing, informing the planning officer and the local councilors of why this need should be granted approval – elected councilors will always go with the voters, particularly when they are seen to be championing a local campaign.
3. The Planning Committee: Getting your application in front of a planning committee is a dark art and the first two steps above will strongly assist that. Publishing the right information at the right time during the planning process is essential, whilst at the same time getting decision makers to focus on the main issues is key.
Whilst we don’t consider Thomas Studio to be a care home guru, we do understand how to unlock planning permission on difficult sites. Our clients identify with this and we are often asked to consider unusual locations for dwellings in open countryside. Though they aren’t always possible, the reality is if you follow the 3 points above you maximise your chances at unlocking the potential. You’ll find even more support information about this topic on our website here:
Gaining planning permission
for the golden age ‘Granny
Annexe’ and Care Home
Or contact Garry on T: 07747 478079 / 01432 860338 firstname.lastname@example.org