Here at Anglian Home Improvements, we pride ourselves on making sure every installation is as stress free as possible, from the installation of a new window to arranging the planning permission for an orangery. I caught up with Anglian’s Technical Planning Manager, Simon Dickerson, who told me some interesting facts about working for Anglian and the difficulties his team faces on a daily basis.
Simon has been with the company for 24 years and thoroughly enjoys his job role; he is also very grateful to have a hard working, experienced team behind him. His department is responsible for arranging any planning permission that may be required, taking what can be a stressful process and making it as simple as possible for Anglian customers.
Simon’s team approves between an astonishing 800-1000 applications each year, keeping customers informed throughout the whole process. They make sure that any of the possible 12 approvals are confirmed; these approvals include statutory, listed buildings, conservation areas, third party approvals from neighbours, water companies, developers and housing permissions. A number of these approvals are needed when building conservatories, panoramic extensions, orangeries or even window installations, so the team covers a variety of products and customer requirements.
In the 24 years that Simon has been with Anglian, he has seen many changes within the company, which has gone from having rooms full of filing cabinets with thousands of projects being stored for the length of the guarantee, to using the Government’s Planning Portal, a completely online method of processing planning permissions and organising payments. We as a company were instrumental in the testing and improving of the Planning Portal as we were one of the first companies to start using this method of processing, which lead to us winning an award in 2005. In 2010 we went on to win another award for achieving 5,000 successful applications, all in the space of 5 years, a fact that Simon Dickerson is very proud of.
However, in spite of our Technical planning department achieving all of these awards and being a very experienced team of experts, some permissions aren’t approved; the most common of which are due to the projection of the proposed extension (the proposed extension may be too large or overlook the neighbours too much), the type of materials used (although these can often be changed) and because the proposed extension is being added to an extension (which can take the extension out of set regulations).
Changes to Government Rules and Regulations
This whole stressful process could become a bit simpler though in the very near future with the Government currently consulting on allowing people to build larger extensions on to their properties. Currently, you do not need planning permission to extend by 3 metres, but the Government is potentially going to extend this to 8 metres without the need for planning permission. A rule remaining in place is the extension may not take up over 50% of the properties garden. This proposal is to try and prevent unnecessary time delays and costs, which take between 8-10 weeks to process.
When I asked Simon what this potential new 3 year legislation would mean for his department, he simply replied, “life would be a bit easier in the office.” Not only would it be easier for our great technical planning team, it would also make the lives of all our customers a lot easier when it comes to extending their homes.