Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

An Overview


roof line-2

Mr Uhdd and I have  spent a chunk of time this week trying to understand what is, and what isn’t acceptable to the local planning department, we want to make some alterations to the house.  The process seems to be a dark art that we have yet to master: time and money, we hope will provide the answer. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

I’ve been pondering why I selected this image to illustrate this post. It is I’ve just realised, that I believe, something  in the region of 95% of the existing buildings in this area, would never get planning permission if the plans were submitted today. Unless of course you want an industrial development, now that is a different planning story, and one that can be told retrospectively.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

11 thoughts on “An Overview

  1. Aaah, council planning departments. You know, they can be conquered, but only if you remember to first sacrifice a white crow at the full moon, while dancing naked around a camp fire, singing Abba songs. Or something equally bizarre ….

    Says the only-very-slightly bitter survivor (and I use that word advisedly) of a long, drawn-out campaign to make better use of the space in my own property.

    On the other hand, if you want to rip up the streets of central Edinburgh, causing chaos and havoc for months on end, driving small traders to the bankruptcy court on the way, all to install a tram line the local residents neither want nor need, then on you go. Don’t even get me started on the Parliament building …

  2. We never seem to strike a balance, do we? Either we let everyone do what they want, the consequences to the rest of the neighbors be damned, or we make simple things intolerably complicated. You should have seen our Planning Commission tying itself in knots trying to figure out how to keep people from buying a piece of lakefront property and then using it as a beach for a development up the road.

    All of us agree that the only real rule should be “You are not allowed to behave like a jackass.” The great difficulty of course lies in defining jackassery.

    Tell them you’d like to do an instructional blog on how to do things properly, using your own situation as a case study . . .

  3. Ask to see a Planning Officer, explain you are a crass idiot and need his/her wise advice then bamboozle him/her and hope like hell, they fall for it.

    Someone close to me, became defeated and then did exactly that – by the time they had finished, he got 95% of what he was after.

    Good Luck.

  4. Good luck with the planning Uphill but im afraid it could be a long battle.
    I empathise with your ( walks away muttering) comment.

  5. when you figure them out, let me know!

  6. Here in the New Forest they are very strange. Our neighbours went to a great deal of trouble to have their extension designed so that the front roof line and windows would continue on from the present building. They were refused on the grounds that someone in the future might not realise it was an extension!! They also initially required that the new garage should be in the back garden despite the fact that their would be no way to access it apart from over another neighbours field!
    Eventually two years on, they got their permission. The house is not as pretty as it would have been but it did mean they could have bigger rooms as neither the front wall or roofline could match up.
    Just think, if our planning department had been in control, would we have all the pretty Georgian frontages in Lymington?

  7. Hope you get one that’s a geographer. They have no idea about anything and will follow their policy. Policy can often be defeated by good design backed up with knowledgeable argument.

    Heaven (etc) help you if you get one that thinks they know about design.

    I generally agree that new work in an historic context should be identifiable as such. However, the quality of contemporary design required to do this while also meeting the ‘preserve and enhance’ clauses make planners’ (and builders’) heads explode.

  8. Uphill do you have to seek permission from the peak Park peopleto alter things
    Ive heard they are not easy to please

    • Thankfully we are not within the Peak Park. That would make the whole process even more complex.
      I suppose the process is a dance we have to dance, it is just than no one seems to know the steps or the music, until they ‘see it’. However we do know it is a slow dance 😉
      The frustration is that we’d been trying so very hard to get it right.

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