11th June 2019

A buyers guide to property redevelopment in Elmbridge

Category: Property

Tags: Elmbridge, PLANNING, Renovation

Alex Dane

Negotiator, Curchods Weybrigde

Have you dreamed of taking on a derelict property and renovating it yourself?

The thought of purchasing a derelict or run down property with a view to renovating it is a popular idea for many house hunters throughout Elmbridge. The size and scope of projects range massively from those who are prepared to redecorate a room or two, to the more ambitious buyers who are looking to take on major structural upgrades.

Whilst there is palpable excitement for homeowners when talking about altering and improving a house, the vast majority also experience a fair degree of doubt and fear when committing financially. It may be difficult to know where to start and what improvements will give you the best return on your investment.

If you are looking to make substantial changes to the property’s structure or layout, a good starting point is to make sure to find out whether there are any restrictions that prohibit an extension or refurbishment of the property in question.


Leasehold Properties

When it comes to internal decoration, if you are buying a property freehold you’re largely free to do proceed as you see fit, but for leasehold properties there can be restrictions written into the head lease, or in other cases, internal refurbishment/changes will need official permission from the freeholder.

If you are out viewing properties, with the intention of taking that property on as a project, the estate agent can liaise with vendors to provide any information about restrictions contained within the lease with regard to internal improvements/changes.


Restrictive Covenants

In the same vein houses in certain private roads or estates can have restrictive covenants in place, which can prevent certain building work.

Most private estates within Elmbridge such as Burwood Park are managed by a residents association which puts a dual approval process in place for the redevelopment and or extension of properties.

Restrictions can include reference to tree removal, fences, gates and the use of roads and verges  during construction, as well as limiting the damage caused by construction traffic during the building work.

If you are purchasing in one of Elmbridge’s private estates, this is something that your estate agent can check at the early stages, but you should inform your conveyancer of your intentions, for clarity on your position. Any covenants in place will usually be re-enforced when the solicitors will raise specific enquiries.


Do I Need Planning Permission In Elmbridge?

One of the most important steps to take at the early stages is to understand whether your plans or ideas will be allowed under permitted development or whether planning permission is required prior to these changes. Depending on the extent of the works, the building office may need to be involved for the approval and monitoring of works.


Compliance with planning legislation is imperative to avoid complications and a respective planning application, should you come to sell the property at a later date.


If you are looking to change the layout internally in addition to a rear extension the likelihood is that this will fall under the permitted development category.

Elmbridge Borough Council will not state if a proposal needs planning permission or if it is a permitted development, for this you will need to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. Permitted development guidance is also available on the Planning Portal.

If planning approval is required, the Elmbridge Borough Council website is a useful tool with a huge library of information on how to submit your planning application and help guide you through the process.

If it is confirmed that development is permitted without a planning application, you can move on to the next steps of planning your DIY project or speaking with workman. We recommend looking at the website www.checkatrade.com to find and contact local tradesman to aid with building work, the website is based around customer feedback and heavily reduces the risk of employing an untrustworthy workman.


In The News: Homeowners free to build bigger extensions

It was recently reported in BBC News that homeowners in England are being given the green light to build larger extensions without planning permission.

Temporary rules introduced in 2013, which allowed bigger single-storey rear extensions without a full planning application, are being made permanent.

Additions to terraced and semi-detached homes can be up to 6m, while detached houses will be able to add even larger structures, up to 8m long.

Neighbours will still be consulted and can raise objections to extensions.

Instead of waiting possibly months for approval, homeowners notify the council of the building work beforehand, and council officials inform the neighbours.

If they raise concerns, the council decides if the extension is likely to harm the character or enjoyment of the area, and may block the plans.

Submitting Your Planning Application To Elmbridge Borough Council

Pre Planning Enquiries

Pre planning advice is offered in four stages on the Elmbridge website, ranging from bronze to platinum. This is a form whereby drawings or plans are sent to the council to be commented upon, this service is not free but useful to get official feedback quickly. There is a range of packages available, from £70 for the basic bronze service up to £870 for platinum, which provides much faster response times and involvement commitments from the Council.

To get the best value from your enquiry you will need to submit drawings of your proposal. As scale plans can be costly, Elmbridge Borough Council will accept drawings annotated with measurements. Photographs of the current site will also help them provide more accurate advice. For larger and commercial proposals we would recommend providing more detailed outlines of your planned development as amendments are not accepted once your enquiry has been submitted. The fee will not be refunded if you decide advice is no longer required even if they not yet provided advice.

The detail of our response will be proportionate to the detail you can provide.


Before you submit your pre-application enquiry

  • Make sure you submit everything, Elmbridge Borough Council will not accept amendments.
  • Elmbridge Borough Council will not respond to speculative enquiries. You will need to send details of a proposal.
  • Elmbridge Borough Council will not suggest what a site could be used for.


Find the right application form

There are a variety of types of planning application with their own forms. By answering the questions on the National Planning Portal you will be guided to the correct form for your application which you can complete online.

If you don’t want to complete your application online you can print a form instead.


Check what you need to submit

To prevent avoidable delays or refusals, you must ensure that your application submission is accompanied with all necessary reports to meet policy requirements. Failure to provide everything needed, will result in your application remaining invalid.


Submit your application and pay fees

The Planning Portal has a fee calculator to help you work out the correct fee for your application. Alternatively, you can view the full list of fees on the Planning Portal.

The easiest and quickest way to submit your application is to use the Planning Portal website, where you can make your application and payment online. If you don’t want to use the Planning Portal you can print a form and apply by post.


Find A Planning Application

Every planning application and the decision is listed on the website for the general public to see, dating back to 1948.

We recommend that buyers look at the planning applications submitted in the same road or postcode to the property in question to read up on what has been approved and if any applications have been declined.

All comments against the application are also listed which can be used to get a sense of the feedback.

The Elmbridge Planning Portal website contains all the official guidelines, which is useful for the finer details.  For general enquiries on planning applications you cal call Elmbridge Borough Council on 01372 474474.

We must stress that before you look to undertake any building work that you have the appropriate approval and ensure that you have the necessary consent from the council.


Need some help?

Curchods Land Development Department possess in-depth knowledge of the area and planning process, enables us to advise you on how to extract the best value and increase your chance of obtaining planning permission.

We can prepare and submit planning applications on your behalf, or introduce you to a reliable developer who will work with you to minimise the financial outlay.

We work with small sites for a single dwelling through to strategic sites for many hundreds of homes across the south east.


Curchods Land Development Department
T: 01483 479057
E: land@curchods.com


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