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Planning Permission - Part 4, Plans Finalised

Posted by joeirish , 25 January 2015 · 821 views

May to August 2013

We had spent a fair bit of time considering the idea of a three sided house. It had its appeal. It would certainly have the wow factor combined with the more traditional aspect facing the road. And it certainly contained most of the features on our wish list. But...

The cost. We had a specific budget and there would be no more once that was gone. The area of the proposed house was a good deal bigger than we felt we needed or could afford and prices per square metre were approaching €1500 which put us 20% over budget even before we started. Not affordable, and probably not even if we used a cheaper build method and cut corners (no pun intended!) as much as possible. After another week of toing and froing we phoned Miles and told him our decision was not to proceed with his initial design. Another long chat about the benefits of south facing roofs but in the end he was prepared to work on another design. But it would take some weeks. Ah well.

We were anxious to get our planning as we were not putting our current house up for sale until we were sure that we had a viable site. We'd talked to our auctioneer (what we call estate agents in Ireland) about our plans to put our house up for sale (see the first blog for more on that). Steve was not just an auctioneer he was also a friend and it was over dinner one night the previous year that we talked about the problem of the euro. This is relevant!

In 2012 the Cypriot government decided that because of the ongoing financial crisis they would tax people's savings in Cypriot banks. 30% was to be taken by the government. Now we had been saving for many years and became concerned about our own savings. Ireland was not in the best of financial positions and we wondered, over that dinner, what might be a safer option than leaving many years of savings in an Irish bank or building society.

"Buy a site" was Steve's immediate advice. And to cut a long story short that is exactly what we did. But we had also decided that a newer, eco type house that had the best insulation and lowest running costs would be a good idea as we got older. But no great rush, we would have a five year plan.

We had five year plans before. When living in England we decided to have a five year plan to move to Ireland. That fyp lasted 13 years in the end. Hopefully this fyp would keep on target. Nonetheless here we were six months into the fyp and still had not bought the site that would be the safer place for all those savings. And another thing, our potential market for our current house might dissipate if we did not get it up for sale soon, or so I thought.

I had an idea that we would be more likely to sell our house to a UK based buyer as the UK housing market was taking off and the Irish market was mainly stagnant. Who knew how long the UK market would continue to boom but it would be great if we could get our house up for sale asap.

"What would happen if you got an offer for the asking price a week after you put your place up for sale?" asked Steve when we mentioned our plans to sell.
"We could always move into a rented place or something"
"Move twice, put your stuff in storage?"
"And what would happen if you didn't get planning for this site you are buying and had to pull out? What would you do then?"

Ah. Hmmm. So we had decided not to put this house up for sale until we had our planning permission. And that did put a little pressure on us to get the design sorted. As long as we could get it on the market during the summer. No point in trying to sell a house in the winter. But we were not Miles' only customers.

But Miles did have some good news. He had presented the concept of our proposed house, the traditional part facing the road with a more modern part at the rear that maximised solar gain and contributed to the eco design of the house. And the planner was generally well disposed to this approach. So all we needed now was the latest iteration of our plans incorporating our ideas in a smaller and less expensive proposal. But still nothing back and time dripped away.

And then on the 13 June Miles calls and says he is in the area and has the new plans. Can we meet? And an hour later we are all sat around the kitchen table looking at this new set of plans. And we are liking what we see and what Miles is doing with all this information we have provided (including finding a new place for the dog beds!) . A few tweeks here and there should do it (well moving one whole wall out by a metre and changing the orientation of the house a little, and moving the garage to an altogether different place, but otherwise no big changes). And one week further and we have the (almost finished design).

And this is what he showed us.
Attached Image

A bit of tweeking led to this
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From the road it would look like this
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And finally the wow factor seen here as if you were flying over from the south
Attached Image

And we loved it. We really did. It was just what we wanted, except for some changes. But overall the whole area would come in at just under 150 sqm which was our maximum. And we probably could afford it too!

By the way, the wavy lines on the last drawing are showing the levels of the land taken from the topographical survey we had done during this last month. These were then incorporated into various drawings to show finished floor heights, roof height, garage height, position of wastewater system and how the flow of sewage would get to the settling tank without need of pumps and much else. All necessary to help the planners make their decision.

Then Miles announced he would be going on holidays and that he would be away for two weeks. More delays. But we had work to do in the meantime. Get signed off percolation reports. Complete the application form, 18 pages long. Letters from various people including Liam P saying he was OK with us applying for the planning. And that he had no intention anytime in the future of ever applying for planning on any other land he owned in the area! What? They can't ask him to give that assurance. He might well want to sell off another site. Then what. More next time.

May 2018

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