Posts Tagged ‘Planning permission’

new project | replacement dwelling ahoghill

A new project through the planning process & heading onto site.

replacement dwelling outside ahoghill ballymena
dwelling remains

We gained planning approval for a replacement dwelling (Policy CTY 3 – Replacement Dwellings) on the outskirts of Ahoghill, Ballymena.

the image above shows the state that the existing dwelling was in.

historical maps showed that a building was in the same position, which was used in our statement of case to planning ni.

Anyway, with the boring text out of the road, we’ll post updates of it onsite 🙂

If you have a project you’d like to discuss, feel free to get in touch with our

are you looking to build in the future?

Should you have any queries or have a project you’d like us to take a look at, feel free to contact our office to see about our free consultations

Replacement Dwelling in Northern Ireland CTY3

Replacement Dwellings and Planning issues

Replacement dwellings in Northern Ireland – As part of the general approach to sustainability running through PPS 21 the policy places a strong emphasis on the opportunities to re-use and develop the existing rural settlement pattern through a sensitive policy for replacement dwellings. Policy CTY3 sets out the criteria against which proposals will be assessed and it contains specific safeguards for the integration and retention of non listed vernacular buildings that are considered to be important to retain because of the contribution they make to the character and appearance of our local rural landscapes.

replacement dwelling to a house northern ireland
replacement dwelling for a 2 room house at slieve gullion newry, northern ireland

Basic Rules for Replacement Projects

  • The replacement dwelling should generally be placed as close as possible to the footprint of the original house, unless significant benefits are apparent in terms of visual and functional integration.
  • The replacement dwelling should be of a form and scale that integrates well with the characteristics of the site. Replacement dwellings should not be of an excessive size in comparison to the original building or be located a significant distance away from the original footprint unless there are clear and evident benefits.
  • The proposal takes full advantage of the retention of established and mature landscape and boundary features and retains the discreet character of existing access points.
  • Use is made of recycled building materials in the new proposal

Planning permission will be granted for a replacement dwelling where the building to be replaced exhibits the essential characteristics of a dwelling and as a minimum, all external structural walls are substantially intact. For the purposes of this policy, all references to ‘dwellings’ will include buildings previously used as dwellings.

Buildings designed and used for agricultural purposes, such as sheds or stores, and buildings of a temporary construction will not, however, be eligible for replacement under this policy.

Favourable consideration will, however, be given to the replacement of a redundant non-residential building with a single dwelling, where the redevelopment proposed would bring significant environmental benefits and provided the building is not listed or otherwise makes an important contribution to the heritage, appearance or character of the locality.

In cases where a dwelling has recently been destroyed, for example, through an accident or a fire, planning permission may be granted for a replacement dwelling. Evidence about the status and previous condition of the building and the cause and extent of the damage must be provided.

Non-listed Vernacular Dwellings

The retention and sympathetic refurbishment, with adaptation if necessary, of non-listed vernacular dwellings in the countryside will be encouraged in preference to their replacement. Proposals involving the replacement of such dwellings will be assessed as follows:

• if the dwelling makes an important contribution to the heritage, appearance or character of the locality planning permission will only be granted where it is demonstrated that it is not reasonably capable of being made structurally sound or otherwise improved.

• if the dwelling does not make an important contribution to the heritage, appearance or character of the locality, planning permission will be granted for a new dwelling. In such cases the retention of the existing structure will be accepted where it is sympathetically incorporated into the layout of the overall development scheme, for example as ancillary accommodation or a store, to form an integrated building group.

In cases where the original building is retained, it will not be eligible for replacement again. Equally, this policy will not apply to buildings where planning permission has previously been granted for a replacement dwelling and a condition has been imposed restricting the future use of the original building, or where the building is immune from enforcement action as a result of non-compliance with a condition to demolish.

Refer to Planning Departments design Guide to accompany PPS21

Should you have any queries about planning in Northern Ireland, please feel free to get in touch with our office.

How to Find the Perfect Plot

How to Find the Perfect Plot for your self-build

For many, finding the perfect plot of land is the start of the home building process but it can be a daunting task for first-timers and those of us who are inexperienced.  In reality, there are plenty of people out there ready to help and guide you through the process and the “perfect plot” is determined by only a few key factors.  Over the years we’ve worked on loads of different projects on various plots of land so we thought we’d collect together some of the key points that, in our opinion, make the perfect self-build plot.

modern house on building site


Set Your Budget

The first stage in the process, as with almost every aspect of building your own home, is to determine your budget. There are various rules of thumb to follow but for most self-build projects the plot of land will command between 20-40% of your total budget. This might seem like a substantial amount but, as we regularly hear from property experts, location is very important and plot prices will vary considerably depending on where in the world (or Northern Ireland if you’re a local reader…) you want to buy and build!


Talk to the Experts

We would recommend talking to experts regardless of your experience but if you’re a first-time buyer (and self-builder) then we would consider this an essential part of the process.  Who are these experts? They could be estate agents, architects like us, solicitors, builders or developers. Each profession will have their own thoughts and opinions on what makes the perfect plot of land so talking to as many people as possible will give you a clearer, fuller picture of what exactly you should be looking for.

traditional cottage being built outside ballymena


Analyse the Area

This is where most people actually begin the perfect plot process.  As mentioned above, location is extremely important and impacts everything from your own happiness in your new home to the property value, should you ever want to sell in the future. Analysing what you can get, and where, will help you hone in on the perfect plot. Analysis of the surrounding area will also help shape your future project plans alongside your chosen architect. Surrounding buildings, or lack thereof, will most likely impact the design and style of your new home.
As a result of these impacts, you should carefully study your new potential neighbourhood and consider whether or not your self-build project will work there.

How to Find the Perfect Plot


Identify Vehicle and Services Access

Another major factor in determining the perfect plot is to identify vehicle access via main roads and access to key services like water, gas and electric.  Without proper vehicle access, the plot is unlikely to get planning permission, if it hasn’t already, as builders won’t have the access they need to carry out their work.  Similarly, if the plot doesn’t have proper access to the services and amenities mentioned above you will have to budget for these features to be installed and connected to your future home.  Awareness is key here. Identify exactly what the property needs or already has and then make an informed decision from there.


Identify Planning Permissions

Planning permission is a serious issue and we would highly recommend that you never purchase a plot of land under the assumption that planning permission will be granted. There are so many factors at play when undertaking your own self-build project that you should treat planning permission like a “black or white” issue. The plot of land in question either has planning permission or it hasn’t and if it hasn’t then we recommend waiting until everything is officially signed off or moving on to the next plot of land on your list.


Make Your Move

 After everything has been thoroughly considered it’s time to make your move.  It might seem strange, especially if you’re a first-time self-builder, to commit such a large amount of money to a plot of land and nothing else but this is the first stage of the self-build process. Talk to the experts in your world, make sure the plot ticks as many boxes as possible and then go for it. After that, you can look forward to the design process and eventually be laying those first foundations.


If you have any more questions about finding the perfect plot we’d be happy to give our thoughts and make it as specific to your situation as possible. Just contact us here or on our facebook page 

Things to Consider Before Building an Extension

extension & renovation of existing 300yr old house outside crossmaglen, county armagh

With the New Year just past, you might be considering building an extension onto your current home.

Extensions can be wonderful additions to houses bringing new light and space, new rooms to explore and help improve energy efficiency. However, before the excitement starts take a step back and consider the project from start to finish.
In our experience building an extension can be just as challenging as any new build but hopefully, we can guide you through some of the finer details.

Before working on any extension project we always ask the party involved why they want to build.
To ensure the best result you need to hone in on exactly why you’re setting out on such a large project. Do you want to increase the value of the property? Or maybe you want to improve energy efficiency or living conditions?
Defining why will always lead to a better end result.

Modern Timber Clad Extension Architects Ballymena

timber clad extension to a semi-detached house – to act as an extension of the house & garden

This leads us nicely onto deciding on your aesthetic and physical goals for the project.
The most common requests are for the creation of more light and/or space. This could be due to changes in the environment around you (i.e. more buildings) or the growth of your family.
Alternatively, you might be happy with the space on offer but simply require the layout of your house to be reshaped in a way you’re now more comfortable with.
Extensions aren’t usually just about more space, so figure out what your goal is.

Planning Permission
With your goal, firmly set planning permission may be required and if this is the case it should be your first practical port of call when beginning to move forward with your new plans.
Here in Northern Ireland eleven local councils and the Department of Infrastructure handle the responsibility of planning equally. More information can be found at but please be aware of the possible scale of fees involved.

No matter how awkward you think a chat with your neighbours could be, it’s almost always a good idea before you begin any form of extension project.
Common neighbour concerns usually revolve around the existence of a shared wall, the potential loss of natural light or the potential to overshadow their property, specifically their garden. We recommend you keep anyone potentially affected up-to-date with the project to avoid any trouble.

Whether it’s your primary reason for the project or not, building an extension is a great opportunity to improve the sustainability and energy performance of your home. Depending on the current performance of your property, this can be improved with the help of experienced builders and architects through the implementation of properly insulated walls, double glazed windows and in some cases solar panels.

Architect Involvement
Not everyone plans to use an architect when undertaking an extension project and in many cases, this is perfectly acceptable. However, if you’re inexperienced, don’t have a trusted working relationship with your builder, or require planning permission, we would highly recommend getting in touch with us.  Not only we handle and advise on everything already mentioned, we will also view the project in a holistic manner from start to finish and be able to recommend on both big and small details.

Duration / Time Scale
Finally, extensions are serious projects and this is generally reflected in the duration or time frame involved.
Coming from Northern Ireland, or realistically anywhere in the UK or Ireland, weather should obviously play an important factor in your thinking and ideally, you should plan around the seasons. Take advantage of the darker, wetter seasons to design and plan before scheduling building to commence when spring and summer arrive.


As with everything we’re more than happy to answer questions, offer advice and steer you in the right direction so don’t be afraid to get in touch even if you’re not sure where to start.


Planning rules eased to help reduce home heating costs – Durkan

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today announced a boost for people seeking to save on their energy bills

planning rules eased
From 10 March homeowners will no longer need planning permission for installing, altering or replacing air source heat pumps in homes. These pumps absorb heat from the outside air and help save money by reducing heating costs. They are also better for the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and using a sustainable energy source.
Mark H Durkan said: “This really is a win-win, a boost for the environment whilst removing red tape to help households enjoy the benefits of renewable energy and cheaper heating bills.
“Increasing the range of renewable energy technologies which homeowners can install without the need for planning permission should encourage more people to turn to a more sustainable energy supply. This will all help create a cleaner, greener, more energy efficient Northern Ireland.
“These new rights strike an essential balance by freeing up homeowners to install, alter or replace these pumps whilst putting in place safeguards to protect neighbours and the wider environment.”
The Minister concluded: “I have already cut through much red tape and these rules announced today are further evidence of this as they will speed up planning decisions by reducing unnecessary applications. Just recently I announced a consultation on a shorter, simpler planning policy for the North which will make the planning system clearer and easier to use. This is all part of my vision for a fast, fair and fit for purpose planning system that will create a better environment and a stronger economy.”
The above statement has been taken from the planning ni website

check out our social media pages for more informationplanning rules eased planning rules eased planning rules eased Ballymena Planning Consultants  Planning Consultants  Planning Consultants Ballymena  architects  Planning Consultants 

Glarryford house nears completion

New build “dwelling on a farm” nearing completion

This project is for a new house on a great site in Glarryford, Ballymena.
Glarryford house Glarryford house 

The site for this house is located in Glarryford, Ballymena, gaining planning approval as “a dwelling on a farm” under PPS21
Our client wanted a modern/contemporary feel to the traditional farm house seen throughout Northern Ireland.
The challenge was to deal with the conflicting objectives of getting planning permission while designing a home that made the most of the site and views. The form of the house is a response to the local environment, its orientation, the adjacent family farm , and its prominence in this local area.

Glarryford house Glarryford house

Check out our Facebook page for more information & images