How Do Material Considerations Affect Planning Applications

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As mentioned before, Local Authority Planning Departments base their decisions on material considerations, not on the neighbours' views.

Since what defines a material consideration is not specified in the law, the decision-making process may be complex. Moreover, not every material consideration applies to each project.

Therefore, getting assistance from an architect can be very beneficial, and Studio20 Architects provides you this assistance.

The most common material considerations which might impact applications are:

Appearance, materials & design

In terms of material considerations, the design should fit its surroundings by following, reflecting, or tastefully contrasting the design of adjoining buildings, however, keep in mind that acceptable design is subjective, and here, the design includes concepts such as dimensions, proportions, shape, materials, style, and finish of a building.

The density of the building & layout

The design of a new build and the proposed scale should match the existing site with the nearby buildings. It should retain the character of the area.

The amount of space around a build is also important, as well as where it sits within the plot. Following the pattern of the area in this respect also defines the character of an area, which needs to be kept still.

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Development benefits

The benefits of a proposal might outweigh local or policy objections. These types of material considerations affect your planning application positively.

Permitted Development

Another Material Consideration that will also be weighed by the local Planning Department is the level of permitted development rights in the area. Call us if you would like to be informed about Permitted Development extensions.

Environment & Green Belt

The planning authority will consider the impact of new proposals on plant life and wildlife with any protected species (such as otters). Moreover, in green belts, most new builds will be viewed as inappropriate by the Local Planning Committee. Therefore, material considerations will be very restrictive. However, there is a limited set of acceptable development criteria in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework).

Here are the criteria:

Agricultural and forestry buildings

Limited housing for the local community and limited infilling of properties in villages so long as they follow the policies in the Local Plan Outdoor sports facilities and, providing that open spaces and green belt purposes remain unaffected, outdoor recreation, and cemeteries.

You can replace existing buildings, provided the new building does not mean a change of use and is not larger than the previous building

Limited infilling or partial or complex redevelopment of brownfield sites which are either redundant or in continuing use (not including temporary buildings), so long as open space and green belt purposes remain unaffected.

Extensions and alterations to existing buildings, provided they do not result in disproportionate additions to the scale of the original property.

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Planning history

Planning history is a material consideration that shows the past approved permissions, refusals, and appeals in the current area you want to build an extension and get planning permission.

Precedent / Residential amenities

Even though planning history is considered, each case has to be looked at on its merits. Planners should be fair and consistent when applying their policies.

Parking & access

The noise of cars in parking places and access drives may constitute a material consideration. This matter is even more important if the development is adjacent to existing residential properties with gardens.

There are a few things to be considered such as highway safety, adequate physical access parking provision, and the existence of turning space. The requirements may vary from council to council.

For example, the amount of off-street parking required is reduced if there are good public transport links, adequate road parking, or public car parks according to some council decisions.

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Risk of flooding

Applications for new builds in vulnerable areas are possibly not successful unless there are no other options outside the risk zone.

Special designations

The new build may influence on the areas of natural beauty, conservation areas, or listed buildings. Buildings, views, and open spaces contribute to an area’s character, and the character of an area is one of the most important material considerations in planning. Planners try to protect listed buildings, whilst the law protects conservation areas.


Studio20 Architects is a firm that has several experiences in terms of planning permissions.

Our team has comprehensive knowledge of what kind of proposals are most likely to be accepted since they have experience with the LPA planning policies.

Please call us and then we can inform you of any subject related to planning permissions and extensions.

Our team can also inform and assist you with any supporting statements you may need when dealing with local planning authorities such as Design & Access Statements, Planning Statements, Heritage Reports, Transport or Noise Impact Assessments, or Flood Risk Assessments.