Planning permission granted!

The plans for the renovation have now been officially approved and the status has been updated on the Kirklees website.  We know that they had been approved earlier in the week, but it is always good to sit it written down in black and white – somehow, it seems a little more real.

The only downside with the approval was that we had to remove the plans for the change of access.  However, our intention is to re-submit plans for the driveway once the building work is underway.

The application will be found here on the Kirklees website:

Planners input on the Bat Survey

We had a bat survey completed back in August and the survey was submitted as part of the planning application.  The survey showed no evidence of bats living in the property or the outlying buildings.


The submitted bat survey has identified some limited bat activity around the site but no evidence of bats
emerging from the buildings, although these were identified as having some potential. No further information is required.
The following recommendations should be followed and conditioned as appropriate:
  • All roof coverings and fascias should be removed carefully by hand
  • Should any evidence of bats be found, all works should stop and advice sought from the bat surveyor or Natural England.
Given the loss of potential bat roost features as a result of the proposal, we would suggest that one bat roost feature is incorporated into the development. Preferably, this should be an integral feature (e.g. a ‘bat brick’) or if this is not possible, an external, long-lasting ‘woodcrete’ type bat box.

Guidance is given via the following link:

Bat roost features should be sited away from artificial lighting and should not be located above windows and doors.

In the course of the bat survey, an occupied swallow nest was identified in the existing lean-to building at the north-east side of the site. Works to this section of the site (which may cause destruction of nests or, disturbance to the resident swallows) must not take place during the bird breeding season (late March to August) or until the young have fledged.

In line with the NPPF, It would be beneficial if this nest could be retained in the final scheme. If not, then if possible, a replacement swallow nesting feature should be incorporated into the scheme in line with the following guidance:

Swallow nests require an open access throughout the breeding season, so are best suited to outbuildings, sheds or garages.

Budgeting: Starting the process

Before we submitted the plans to the planning department, we thought it might be a good idea to start pulling together some estimates.   We already had a budget that we were working to and this was part of the brief that we had given Mark, the architect.  However, there is no point in putting something through planning that you simply can’t afford to build.  This turned out to be a smart move. 

We engaged a Quantity Surveyor (QS) via the architect who took the Mark’s designs and produced a set of rough estimates.  These are based purely on the current designs and some prior knowledge of what it takes to build/renovate properties like these and in this part of the world.  In fact, the QS managed to produce a set of estimates without visiting the site – based purely on the work that needed to be done and the amount of space/materials involved.  At this stage, the estimates can only be very rough.

But they only need to be rough.  The initial set of figures showed that we were already over budget by about 20%.  While you can reduce costs by cutting back on some of the footprint, you aren’t going to save huge amounts.  We took the decision to lose the garage/office on the basis that this could be added in at a later date and it might also have been difficult to get through planning.  Getting rid of this element of the decision would also save time and money – the design of the garage/office was still only at a formative stage when we took the decision to scrap it.

However, the whole process did underline how important it is to understand your priorities and make compromises accordingly.  We still won’t know the final figures until once the planning permission has been granted – after all, some key parts of the design might get rejected and this could have a huge impact on the budget.

Front elevations

Ok, so these are the front elevations – today and in May 1978 before it was converted from three properties into two.  I have included the rear elevations here.

You can quite clearly see where the old front door used to be for number 9 as well as the fact that new windows appear to have been added upstairs (as stated on the old plans).

The old plans were in a bit of a “distressed” state.  To view a larger image, just click on the picture.

Front elevation – today (above) and in 1978 (below)

Rear of the property

Well, we have been struggling to work out what the property used to look like in the past.  And now we know.  At least, what it looked like 34 years ago – in May 1978.  We have the architects drawings when the property was three separate cottages and before they were combined into two. The present owners found the plans when clearing out.

I have scanned in the architects drawings and matched them up with the recent elevations that we had done.  I have combined them in single images so that you can see the differences.  To view a bigger version, just click on the image itself.

Rear elevation: Today (above) and in 1978 (below)

The old drawings show that the ground level at the back of the property used to be just underneath window level at the back. This was reduced when the work was completed. We aren’t show if the conservatory was added at the same time.

The results of the Bat Survey are in!

Although we are still waiting for the written report, it would appear that we don’t have a problem with bats.  The assessors have confirmed that there are no bats living in any of the buildings and while the survey did reveal bats foraging in some of the tress.  They only recorded one bat during their time (around 3 hours) on site. 

As soon as we have the written report, I will post more information.

Bat Survey

Bats are a protected species in the UK.  This means that it is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly kill or capture, disturb a place of shelter or destroy the resting place of a bat.  A roosting site can be protected even if there are no bats present.  Furthermore, a bat survey needs to be undertaken BEFORE a planning application can be determined.

The other compounding fact here is that the survey can only be completed at suitable times of the year, normally May to September. 

In our case, we are not likely to be submitting a planning application until after September, so if it turns out that we need a bat survey then we will have to put everything on hold until the following May when the survey can be completed.  Not a great result.

Talking to the existing owners, it would appear that there are bats in the area, so we have decided to get a bat survey completed now just in case.  But it is another added expense.  Around £1,000.

Our first visit to the Planning Dept

I rang the Planning department at Huddersfield County Council earlier in the week.  We made an appointment to discuss the property that we are in the process of buying.  You will find the pages for the Planning Department here.

Before we went in to see the Planning Dept, the feedback was unanimous – it would be a waste of time.

I must admit that I had a whole list of questions which I didn’t ask.  Questions about what was and what wasn’t going to be acceptable.  I decided that it was too early for these sorts of questions, but better to concentrate on finding out more about the property and the planning process.

Was the meeting a waste of time?  Absolutely not!  The naysayers couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a very useful session and, while we are far from being in a position of having planning permission, we did manage to establish a number of things.


  • The property is not Listed;
  • The property is not in a conservation area;
  • There are no current applications for planning permission and there is no record of any planning applications having been submitted (or rejected);
  • There are no planning applcations on any of the adjoining properties;
  • There are no Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) on any of the trees on the property;
  • There are TPOs on the trees on woods (Hagg Wood) that encloses the property;
  • Before we submit our application, we can make an appointment and talk through the designs that we would like to submit.  In fact, it would seem to make sense to do this before the plans are too developed as this will save time and money in getting any amendments made.

So all in all, a very useful session.  I have subsequently read that some local councils charge (around £120) for these meetings.  So top marks to Huddersfield local council!