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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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I am thinking of a business idea and would like to know if

Customer Question

I am thinking of a business idea and would like to know if it is possible to build a bunker underground without planning permission on a piece of land that I would own or a client would own (Open field/Forest/Woodland)? The bunker would be completely submerged underground and would also have a bore hole within for a well to draw fresh water.
I am reading mixed reviews on-line with some people saying not required (employees from water companies etc... which I assume would have special dispensation?) I read somewhere that you could build underground as long as the depth does not exceed the distance to the closest permanent building (which seemed to make sense but I don't think its true)
If I do need planning permission, could you please point me in the right direction to some informative reading I can do, and highlight some of the caveat's/hoops I need to jump through.
I know woodland is going to be tricky but is it possible? And what about elsewhere in open land, urban and rural areas?
Many thanks and kind regards,
Chris
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 2 years ago.
Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask what the bunker would be used for - would it be residential or for some use in connection with farming or forestry work?

JACUSTOMER-y8ii1105- :

it would be used as a place to take shelter in the event of an emergency.

Joshua :

Thanks. There are two main components to this as I see it. The first is whether you require planning permission and the second is whether you would get it...

Joshua :

As to whether you would require planning permission, the answer (for better or worse) is that you would. Planning permission is required if you plan to carry out ‘development’ as provided for in Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990

Joshua :

"Development" is defined as among other things building operations - above or below ground, mining operations which would catch your proposal.

Joshua :

The definition is drawn widely to so as widely as possible to ensure it catches all developements

JACUSTOMER-y8ii1105- :

Ok cool. So if i had a client that wanted me to build a bunker for them, i would need to ensure they have the correct planning permission. Thats great. thanks.

Joshua :

The second component is whether you are likely to obtain planning permission for your proposal...

Joshua :

as you are very likely aware, local authorities around the country are responsible setting their own planning policy for the local area. The planning policy must be set within a national framework that subject to this, we are able to develop their own local planning policy rules.

Joshua :

You can speak to your local authority's planning department for the area in which you propose to build or go to their website to obtain a copy of the "local plan" for that area which will contain all of the planning policies the local authority used to assess planning applications. It can also be very helpful to simply speak to a local planning officer informally and they can often be very helpful

Joshua :

generally, building in woodland is very challenging as local authorities will typically seek to ensure that woodland areas are preserved and do not allow residential development within woodland. It is possible to build structures which relate to forestry work but again there are generally relatively tight controls in this respect. Farmland is generally more straightforward and often one does not need planning permission for building structures which are required for farming use providing the farmers of sufficient size.

JACUSTOMER-y8ii1105- :

would this also cover a zoo?

Joshua :

If you are planning to build underground, notwithstanding the above, planning permission will generally be easier to achieve in this little of your development will be visible above ground. The impact on the surrounding area is a major component of planning permission decisions and if you take this largely out of the equation, there are fewer grounds on which local authorities will have to decline planning permission.

Joshua :

A zoo would be a commercial enterprise and should not generally have any special restrictions that woodland does for example.

JACUSTOMER-y8ii1105- :

Ok cool. Thats great. Anything else i should be aware of? Or which may make it easier to obtain?

Joshua :

Generally building within areas which are defined as urban and not in areas of outstanding natural beauty nor conservation areas will be easier to obtain than those areas that are AONB or conservation areas. building on woodland is perhaps the most challenging of all but can be permitted if sympathetic and necessary for forestry work. Building on a farm which is more than 5 hectares in size is generally straightforward providing you can demonstrate that the building work is necessary or related to farming activity and often planning permission is not even required in these circumstances though confirmation should always be sought from the local authority to avoid arguments later on.

Joshua :

Have I been able to help you with all your questions on the above?

Joshua :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

JACUSTOMER-y8ii1105- :

Hi Joshua, sorry was on a call. Yes that's great. thankyou for your time.

Joshua :

A pleasure. Good luck with your proposal. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with please reply back to me though

JACUSTOMER-y8ii1105- :

Will do. Have a nice day :)

Joshua :

Many thanks. And ou

Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 25358
Experience: LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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