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Apartments planning – Architect designed flats and apartment blocks

Apartments, Flats & Maisonettes - Architects & Planning Services

Apartment schemes play an important role in meeting the housing needs of a growing population and create vibrant and liveable communities.

Whether its affordable homes, social housing, build to rent, serviced apartments or exclusive, luxury apartments in urban areas, new build or conversion of an existing building we guide you through the key apartment planning and design issues.


Hunter Architects are Expert in obtaining Planning permission for Apartments across the UK

Apartment schemes can provide a fantastic opportunity to maximise the potential of plots.

Hunter Architects & Planners have been involved with many Apartment schemes, from small conversions and new build schemes of a couple of flats through to multi-phase, multi-storey developments; from stand-alone apartment developments to mixed use developments featuring elements of commercial or retail uses. Our projects have been located within Conservations Areas, City Centres, World Heritage Sites, Green Belt, Brownfield and Greenfield sites among others.

Please Contact us to discuss your Apartment or Flats project.

What are the design and planning considerations for Apartments?

Apartment Amenity

Private amenity spaces, such as gardens, terraces, or balconies, can often be overlooked when planning apartments. However, these spaces are important for the well-being of residents, as they provide access to outdoor space.

Having access to daylight, fresh air, and space to dry clothes, socialize, play, enjoy wildlife, and grow plants or vegetables can significantly improve the quality of life for residents of all ages. For apartments, private amenity spaces should be large enough for a table and chairs. As a minimum, a 2-bedroom apartment should have at least 5 square meters of private amenity space, with an additional 1.5 square meters for each additional occupant.

Shared amenity spaces can also be valuable, as they provide a place for people to meet, socialize, and for children to play. The most successful shared amenity spaces are those that are overlooked by residents who share them. This creates a sense of ownership and community among residents. When planning a new apartment development, it is important to consider the management and maintenance of shared amenity spaces. This should be included as part of the planning application.

Privacy and overlooking

Each local authority will have their own standards for overlooking distances, and this will increase with the building height, or if your site is not level. Windows to habitable rooms are mainly affected by overlooking distances, but balconies and roof terraces may also cause issues with overlooking and need to be carefully designed to avoid compromising your neighbours’ privacy.

Apartment Accessibility

Multiple-unit apartment schemes will be required to be accessible to a range of building users. All communal areas and apartments will be required to be visitable by a wheelchair user, with a proportion being accessible and adaptable dwellings, and a further proportion being wheelchair user dwellings.

Space standards for Apartments – Design and Planning considerations.

Increasingly compliance with the Nationally Described Space Standards is required by Local Authorities. It sets out requirements for the floor area of a new dwelling at a defined level of occupancy, as well as floor area and dimensions for key parts of the home such as bedrooms, storage, and circulation space. They also set out minimum requirements for floor-to-ceiling height. Suitable for application across a range of tenures, these requirements are the minimum standards that many councils will accept when reviewing planning applications, and compliance with these standards gives your project a much stronger chance of planning success. You will need to consider the space standards whether your project is a new-build apartment development or a building conversion.

Car parking and sustainable transport options – Apartment Planning

Car parking requirements for Apartments are usually set by the local authority and will vary according to the location of your site, and the tenure of the dwellings.
For example, social housing apartments in a city centre or urban location will have a much lower car parking requirement than a development of luxury apartments on the edge of town. Whatever the car parking requirements, you will want to ensure that your apartments have good sustainable transport options, and that there are local shops and facilities within walking distance of your site. Cycle parking will also be a requirement for your apartment scheme. This needs to be secure parking, ideally inside the ground floor of the building, and will be required for each apartment regardless of the tenure – social housing is privately owned housing generally have very similar cycle parking requirements.

For more information on planning permission for creating apartments or flats through building conversions across the UK, please look at our dedicated page, which features numerous Case Studies or contact us

Commercial & Residential RTPI Planning Consultancy Services across the UK

This website is dedicated to residential and bespoke domestic projects, however, we have a wide range of experience obtaining planning permission for a wide range of sites and across different sectors.

If you are a developer, land-owner, business, private client, Architect and/ or designer looking to achieve approval or submit an appeal for a site or building, across the UK, please have a look at our sister website - Plande.

Please contact us to discuss your particular project, needs and issues.

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A conversation sets everything in motion. We want to understand what you’re looking for and what’s possible.

Call us on 0161 926 9039 or book a meeting today.