Orbis Town Planning Ltd


This project came about from a client who we’d worked with on many commercial projects, but this was his family home. The house is in a picturesque village off the Wetherby Road where in truth, nothing much had changed over the years. His existing house was heavily influenced by the suburban ‘arts and crafts’ movement of the 1930s, and whilst attractive it failed to provide spaces suitable for modern family living. Having understood the client’s objectives on space and design, we set about putting a strategy together to achieve his goals, making exhaustive use of his unused ‘permitted development’ rights to erect over 200m3 of extensions to the main house, as well as an extensive garden / games room sunk partially into the slope at the rear of his garden. A subsequent planning application was considered, but was deemed unnecessary after consent was granted to the extensions under permitted development. The result is extended bedrooms for his family, guest suites as well as a well organised and flowing ground floor living area.

Developing within the Green Belt often requires a subtle but thorough approach and an exploration of all that is possible under permitted development. Councils will often be reluctant to ‘hand you what you want on a plate’, so a careful strategy is often required to achieve your goals.



Following two previous refusals using a ‘local architect’ this client needed proper planning help to evaluate where they were going wrong. As it turns out there was little wrong with their designs but the planning approach needed to be more structured and tenacious in order to convince a reluctant council that they had no option but to grant consent for these significant extensions in the Green Belt, where volume is strictly controlled. Here we were adding about 60% volume to these two rural houses in the Kent Green Belt, allowing these small cottages to be brought up to modern standards and creating true family homes. Our strategy involved forcing the council to issue a lawful development certificate for significant extensions (the council can only assess these on fact, not visual amenity), which was then used to guarantee that planning permission would be granted for a scheme with more-or-less the same scale but of a vastly improved design. It was also almost the same as that refused planning permission a year earlier before orbis became involved.

Extensive knowledge of Green Belt matters and the GPDO were the key here, whilst our consultant was able to maintain the positive outlook of our clients whilst heading off every argument put to us at the council. The result is a fantastic extended houses in the Kent countryside and a very happy young family.



Our creative director was tasked with taking forward a planning application for an exclusive client who wanted to demolish his existing locally protected building and replace this with a contemporary lodge house, reminiscent of his home county in the US. Thorough research dispelled fears over the importance of the existing building and planning permission granted for this new 900m2 house in the Surrey Green Belt.

At orbis we always take a thorough approach to assessing development proposals, leaving no stone unturned in seeking out a solution for you. In this case, a hunch lead to information which literally cleared the way for success in a case that might otherwise have failed at the committee stage hurdle.


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