Retrospective planning permission secured for conversion of garages to provide ancillary accommodation

Retrospective annexe application

It isn’t an unusual situation and something we have written about previously, but following the purchase of a property, what do you do when you suddenly discover planning permissions aren’t in place for existing works or uses. This was exactly the situation our client found themselves in and we are delighted that despite a very complex planning history on site, and a number of historic refusals, we were able to secure planning permission for them, regularising the planning breaches and securing the use of their converted garage as ancillary accommodation both now and in the future.  

Annexes and multi-generational living – a solution to the housing crisis?

Given the ongoing housing crisis, we are finding a surge in families seeking to provide annexe accommodation for relatives or, purchasing properties specifically with annexe accommodation already established to enable multi-generational living.  This was the case with our client – having identified a suitable home with a converted garage providing annexe accommodation, the intention was for the grandparents to live in the annexe, and the parents and their young children to live in the house, enabling the 3 generations to live together and support each other.

We were contacted and asked to help when our client sought to extend their property and in so doing, discovered there was no planning permission in place for historic extensions and alterations to make the annexe habitable.  They sought to submit a retrospective planning application for the works. However, the case officer recommended they withdraw the application, as they were intending to recommend it for refusal.

Understandably this left our client in a real pickle – not only were they now potentially vulnerable to enforcement action, but furthermore the key reason for purchasing the property was the annexe accommodation which it now seemed they couldn’t get approval for.  

Retrospective planning – a strategic approach

We reviewed the planning application, the associated planning history, the site context and the correspondence between our client and the council in relation to withdrawing the annexe application and the reasons for recommending the application for refusal.  Despite a contentious planning history, our analysis of the conversion, local policy and the council response to the retrospective application enabled us to identify that there were no valid planning reasons for proposing the refusal.

We therefore recommended our client submit a planning application for works and we prepared a supporting planning statement which set out the planning position in relation to ancillary accommodation. We sought to respond to fears that the annexe would be used as a separate unit of accommodation and recommended controlling the use via a condition.

Whilst local pressure continued with an objection from the parish council, the case officer acknowledged our sound planning arguments and was willing to override their previous concerns and recommended approval. Positive negotiations and engagement helped us ensure the case officer was aware about the genuine nature of the case and meant the application was determined in a timely manner and with an outcome that satisfied all parties.

It was great working so positively with Rother District Council on this project and we are so pleased with the outcome for our client and their family.

How we can help you

Our team of dynamic planning consultants have been providing informed, proactive and expert planning guidance to developers, commercial clients and householders since 2008. Contact our team via or call us on 01242 501003 to see how we can best assist you, providing the site address and a brief overview of your project.  You can also submit your site via our Landmark Page. We value your privacy and any information which you provide will not be shared outside of our company and will only be used in relation to your enquiry.